Will Washington be able to convince Ankara to abandon Russian S-400 air defense system?
Baku, Azerbaijan, March 13
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
Turkey’s political circles do not consider the US as the country’s reliable partner in recent years as Washington does not fulfill its partnership obligations to Ankara.
In fact, there has been great tension in relations between Turkey and the US over a number of issues recently. One of the reasons for this tension is the acquisition of the Russian S-400 air defense systems by Ankara.
The issue of supplying the S-400 air defense systems to Turkey was repeatedly discussed in late 2016 and in early 2017, as well as during the meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that the S-400 air defense systems will be deployed from October 2019.
The supply of the S-400 air defense systems to Ankara cost $2.5 billion, head of the Rostec state corporation Sergey Chemezov said in December 2017.
Turkey is the first country, a NATO member, which will receive the S-400 air defense systems from Russia.
But, apparently, the acquisition of the S-400 air defense system is not in Washington’s interests. The US is actively trying to prevent Turkey from buying the S-400 air defense systems from Russia.
In particular, Washington warned Ankara that in case of buying the S-400 air defense system from Moscow, the US may refuse to sell F-35 fifth-generation fighter aircraft to Turkey.
But what makes Turkey buy the Russian air defense systems?
Firstly, Turkey needs to intensify security as the US, Germany and the Netherlands took out their air defense systems from the country in 2015, which forced Ankara to look for an alternative.
Secondly, as opposed to Russia, the US refuses to provide Ankara with the technical characteristics of the US Patriot air defense system.
Moreover, Turkey intends to further begin joint production of the S-400 air defense systems with Russia, while Washington does not provide Ankara with such an opportunity.
Another important factor is that the purchase of the US Patriot air defense systems costs Turkey more expensive than the Russian C-400 air defense systems and Washington does not offer Ankara to purchase weapons on credit.
These are the main obvious reasons of acquiring the Russian S-400 air defense systems by Turkey.
Taking all this into account, one can say that it will be difficult for Washington to convince Ankara to refuse to buy the Russian air defense systems, even if sanctions are applied.
Rufiz Hafizoglu, deputy editor-in-chief of Trend
Follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu