Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he fully intends to dial back on his purchase of American arms for Turkey’s defense, and the means that he is using to accomplish this goal is that of substituting those needs with Russian manufactured military hardware.
It’s no secret that Turkey was planning on buying Russian SAMs, in fact, it’s been widely reported the manner in which Washington has threatened Ankara over such a purchase, threatening that it wouldn’t sell its latest fighter jet, the infamous F-35, among other threats and even offers, if Turkey followed through on such a deal with Moscow.
But Ankara declared that it was going to follow through on that order, and even more by not just placing in Turkey’s defense arsenal, but but by putting it into active service to be utilized whenever the need arises.
Turkey didn’t acquire the Russian-built S-400 air defense systems for them to collect dust and may use them, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, adding the purchase was to reduce Ankara’s dependency on US arms supplies.
“We will not just buy the S-400s and place them in a storehouse. We will use them if need be,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, as quoted by Hurriyet daily. “This is a defense system. What are we going to do with it if not use this defense system?” he asked.
Turkey has been locked in talks over purchase of Patriot anti-aircraft systems for quite a long time, and the process was influenced by flip-flops in Turkish-American relations. “Are we going to depend on the U.S. again?” the Turkish strongman continued. “When we have been demanding from them for years, the answer that has been given to us is: The [U.S.] Congress is not allowing.”
“We are tired of this,” he stated. In the meantime, Russia has responded to Turkish request for the S-400 “with a pretty alluring offer,” Erdogan could be heard. “They said they would even get into a joint production. And with respect to loans, they have offered us pretty good loan terms.”
Turkish military is expected to take delivery of S-400s starting from 2019. The S-400 Triumf is now the most advanced Russian anti-aircraft system, designed to engage aerodynamic targets at a range of up to 400km and ballistic missiles up to 60km away. An S-400 squadron can deal with up to 36 aerial targets simultaneously.
Moscow and Ankara signed a $2.5 billion agreement on the procurement of Russia’s most advanced S-400 Triumph (known to NATO as the SA-21 Growler) system in December. Russia agreed to speed up deliveries of the system as Turkey took enormous pressure from the US which tried to block the transfer.
“In response to the request by our Turkish partners to speed up the originally planned delivery terms, we are reacting positively,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier in March. He chose not to announce any deadlines, only saying that the implementation of the S-400 deal is among the issues “now discussed in practical terms by specialists; they aren’t for public disclosure.”
The United States seems to be losing some influence not just in the global economic sphere, but also on the weapons level. Not only is Russia coming out with some really impressive hardware, but America is giving its customers reasons to put their business elsewhere.
Afterall, Turkey might find itself needing to use its military hardware against American manufactured stuff in Syria, notably as they combat American backed Kurds, US trained and funded radical muslim extremist ‘moderates’, radical muslim ‘humanitarians’ (AKA White Helmets), or even possibly the US funded and armed Israelis, if the IDF continues with its record of accuracy when using its weapons against forces in Syria, if its actions relative to the Palestinian protests are any gauge.
Erdogan means business, literally, and he intends to put these SAMs out there, maybe even in Syria, where Erdogan’s primary military concern at the moment rests.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.