Turkey concluded what can only be seen as an historic move. RT reported on 31 August that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded a deal with the Russian Federation for the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 “Triumph” air-defense system, showing the US and NATO that it has alternatives if the Americans cancel their F-35 deal with the country:
Recep Tayyip Erdogan … reaffirmed Turkey’s commitment to purchasing the Russian-made S-400 air-defense system, asserting that Ankara has alternatives if the Washington cancels its F-35 deal.
Speaking to a crowd of military officers at a graduation ceremony on Friday, the Turkish president said that Turkey “needs” the S-400 system for its defense, and that deliveries would happen very soon on account that the deal was already “done.”
He added that it was “not acceptable” for Turkey to accept US impositions regarding the S-400 sale and, if the US wanted to cancel its deal to deliver F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, then “we have alternatives.”
A member of NATO, Turkey’s decision to buy the S-400 has been a major concern for the US and other members of the alliance, who fear that its deployment alongside US-made weapons and systems operated by Turkey, such as the F-35, will be put at risk.
As a means of coercion, Washington has stalled on deliveries of the F-35 to Turkey, hinting at possible sanctions and an outright cancellation of the F-35 sale if Turkey doesn’t bail on the S-400 deal. Erdogan, however, said that they will continue to pay into the program.
“Turkey, which is already a project partner [in the F-35 program], also needs F-35 fighter jets, its domestically developed planes, and planes developed with other countries. We have paid $900 million so far [for F-35’s] and continue to pay as installments come due,” he said.
Turkey’s need for the S-400 system was further stressed by Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who accused Washington of pressuring allies.
“The US has been pressuring all its allies in the recent period, so there is no alliance. We have an urgent need for our allies to buy air-defense systems,” Hurriyet reported him saying.
Joining Turkey in its refusal to bow to US pressure over an S-400 purchase has been India, which in June confirmed its commitment to its own $6 billion S-400 deal.
Calling New Delhi’s defense ties with Moscow a “time-tested relationship,” Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said US sanctions “cannot impact the India-Russia defense cooperation.”
This marks a significant move, as NATO was brought into being for the purpose of repelling the perceived expansionist motives of the Soviet Union. While the Soviet Union itself is no more, the alliance has become increasingly a tool for isolation of Russia, and the four year old propaganda campaign has put ever-increasing pressure on the Russian economy and government, often for reasons that are completely illusory.
As we have covered extensively on The Duran, these moves have a very clear, though usually unstated purpose.
Turkey’s decision to purchase the advanced S-400 marks a repudiation of the United States and the prevailing western world view about all things Russia.
It also calls the nature of NATO and its purpose into question. Along with Germany’s decision to go through with the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, France’s call for increased cooperation with Russia in terms of security, and India’s deal to buy S-400’s, it appears that the US can no longer command loyalty.
It must now compete.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.