(Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva)

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Russia began delivery of an advanced missile defense system to Turkey on Friday, a move expected to trigger U.S. sanctions against a NATO ally and drive a wedge into the heart of the Western military alliance.

The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were flown to a military air base near the capital Ankara, the Turkish Defense Ministry said, sealing Turkey's deal with Russia which Washington had struggled for months to prevent.

The United States says the Russian military hardware is not compatible with NATO systems and that the acquisition may lead to Ankara's expulsion from an F-35 fighter jet program.

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