Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s air-defense system may never happen: analysts

Analysts say the sale has some other problems too, including the Russian military equipment’s lack of interoperability with NATO’s armed forces. No NATO ally currently operates the S-400.

“I do not think the idea will happen,” said Luke Coffey, director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation, the Washington-based conservative think tank. First, he believes Ankara will be using the Russians as leverage to get a better deal on an air-defense system by the U.S. or a European ally. Second, he doesn’t believe Moscow will transfer the S-400 technology to Turkey.

Indeed, Turkish paper Hurriyet last month reported a Putin advisor, Vladimir Kojin, had said Russia would certainly not provide the technology transfer sought by Ankara. Also, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted by the Istanbul paper Aksam as saying: “If Russia doesn’t want to comply, we’ll make an arrangement with another country.”

Wolfe Research analyst Hunter Keay said in a note last month in which Erdogan “overruled” the comments by his foreign minister in addition to also “pointed out having talks over the still-in-development S-500 missile system,” a newer type of Russia’s defense system.

Even so, Russian media have still played up Turkish interest from the S-400 for many months, noting in which China was a buyer of the system. More recently, the idea’s been reported in which Saudi Arabia will be interested from the air defense system.

Back in 2015, Turkey looked set to acquire China’s export type of the FD-2000 long-range air-defense missile system for $3.4 billion yet backed out after pressure by NATO. Also, the Chinese reportedly refused to budge on all of the Ankara government’s technology-transfer demands.

“We’re not expecting Turkey to switch course again, yet further estrangement by the U.S./NATO in addition to closer ties with Russia could create risks around existing programs like the F-35,” said Keay.

Turkey will be scheduled to get 100 F-35 stealth fighter jets, with the first aircraft delivery likely to happen in 2019.

Despite strains from the U.S.-Turkish alliance, analysts say the controversial Erdogan probably will be playing to a domestic audience with the Russian hardware purchase since the idea fits into his strategy to continue consolidating power in addition to demonstrating regional superpower status regardless of NATO.

“Turkey will be doing a lot of posturing to show in which the idea will be capable of going elsewhere besides NATO for its weapons in addition to its alliances,” said Loren Thompson, a defense industry consultant in addition to chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, a Virginia-based public-policy think tank supported by U.S. defense giants.

Since a failed coup attempt in 2016, Erdogan’s government has detained several Americans. Erdogan blames the West for helping alleged coup plotters in addition to their sympathizers.

some other challenges from the U.S.-Turkish relationship stem by the U.S. alliance with the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces to defeat ISIS. The Kurdish YPG militia are a branch of the outlawed terrorist group PKK (or Kurdistan Workers’ Party), which will be accused of killing some 1,0 Turkish security forces in addition to civilians.

Additionally, there’s been a diplomatic dispute between Ankara in addition to Washington in which led Erdogan last month to accuse the U.S. of unfairly treating its longtime ally. There’s also been a diplomatic spat in addition to suspension of visa services to each some other’s citizens.

Meantime, Erdogan in addition to Putin have worked to mend a relationship in which was rocked after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet in late 2015. Putin has visited Turkey at least two times since ties between the two countries resumed last year.

“Maybe Erdogan in addition to Putin get along personally, yet these countries have been competitors in addition to enemies on in addition to off through the course of centuries,” said Coffey. “The idea in which they will all of a sudden become these close buddies goes against the grain of history.”

Added Coffey, “Erdogan tries to play one off the some other to advance Turkey’s position from the region. He’ll cooperate with Russia when he thinks the idea suits the idea, or then he’ll go back to NATO in addition to the U.S.”

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