Washington DC – Friday– (07-12-2019) – New York Institute for foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA): Defying strong objections from the United States and threats of sanctions, Turkey began receiving the first shipment of a sophisticated Russian surface-to-air missile system on Friday. The shipment arrived in an airbase in the capital Ankara on Friday, the Turkish defense ministry says. This step will certainly test the country’s uneasy place in the NATO alliance.
The delivered system, called the S-400, includes advanced radar to detect aircraft and other targets, and the United States has been unyielding in its opposition to Turkey’s acquisition of the equipment, which is deeply troubling to Washington on several levels. First, it puts Russian technology inside the territory of a key NATO all — one from which strikes into Syria have been staged. The Russian engineers who will be required to set up the system, American officials fear, will have an opportunity to learn much about the American-made fighter jets that are also part of Turkey’s arsenal.
Therefore, the Trump administration has already blocked the delivery of the F-35 stealth fighter jet, one of the United States’ most advanced aircraft, to Turkey, and has suspended the training of its pilots, who were learning to fly it.
Turkey has signed up to buy 100 US F-35 warplanes and has invested heavily in the F-35 program. Turkish companies produce 937 of the plane’s parts. However, Turkey has also pursued an increasingly independent defense policy amid strained ties with the United States and Europe. It has purchased Russia’s advanced S-400 air defense system for $2.5 billion and has sent members of its armed forces to Russia for training. United States defense officials said the S-400 is incompatible with the wider Nato air-defense system in the region.
The officials said they did not want the F-35 jets to be near S-400 systems because they feared Russian technicians would be able to access the F-35’s vulnerabilities. The United States warned that it would exclude Turkey from the F-35 program if the S-400 deal went ahead, and warned continued sanctions.
If the United States removes Turkey from the F-35 program and imposes sanctions, it will be one of the most significant fractures in the relationship between the two nations. In the past, Trump has shown a rapport with Erdogan, and could still mend relations by issuing a waver and postponing sanctions. Such a move would please Ankara and upset some of Trump’s allies in Congress. This would be the best case scenario for Turkey. Here at NYCFPA, we urge the Trump administration to have world peace in mind, while also showing other nations that the United States is strong.