The Turkey-U.S. row over the S-400 missiles purchase from Russia has gained momentum as all pressure tactics, possible threats of sanctions and embargoes by the United States seems to have failed to stop Turkey from getting the defense systems.
The Russian S-400 long-range surface-to-air missile system got huge media attention in recent months when it hit headlines around the world. Many new countries wished to become the potential buyers of this economic warfare tool. The increasing popularity of the S-400 after the Syrian episode shook the U.S., the Pentagon and the defense sector. It is widely believed that the Russian armory is getting back to its lost status as compared to American arms and ammunition.
Current developments show that Turkey will buy the S-400 missiles from Russia whatever the consequences Ankara has to face in terms of the U.S. mounting pressure or sanctions. It has been stated repeatedly by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar that the S-400 is a “done deal” and it is out of the question to back out from this agreement.
Turkey is confident that there will be no sanctions from the United States as Washington’s gestures toward Ankara are satisfactory and the U.S. leadership understands ground realities on the basis of which Turkey went for the S-400 missiles in the first place.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 Summit in Osaka expressed his satisfaction that there are no expected sanctions from the U.S.
Nevertheless Erdoğan reiterated that it is Turkey’s sovereign right to buy the Russian S-400 missiles systems. However, there are different pressure tactics being used and lobbyists are active in wanting to take away Turkey from the S-400 deal as a last ditch effort.
NATO’s stance on the S-400 purchase by Turkey is much softer than the U.S. as there are three NATO allies, Bulgaria, Greece and Slovakia, who have the Russian S-300 missile defense systems, so if NATO objects to Turkey’s decision on buying these missiles it would be rather surprising and considered hostile toward Turkey.
The S-400 missiles systems are being purchased on the existing circumstances that Turkey witnessed, and under those challenges the S-400 does not pose any threat to any nation or country. Turkey found the most appropriate and economical defense system that could protect Turkish interests according to its strategic location and challenges.
Any further pressure on Turkey by the U.S. will lead to relations between both countries onto a tense phase. Turkey is already strengthening its ties with other regional powers and has more options to further widen its foreign relations.