Erdoğan must suffer for choosing Putin over NATO - WSJ

As Turkey starts receiving Russia’s S-400 missile systems, the United States should end Ankara’s participation in the F-35 fighter jet programme as NATO officials consider whether Turkey still belongs in the alliance, the Wall Street Journal said in an editorial. 

U.S. officials have repeatedly stated that the S-400 poses a threat to U.S. and NATO defences, warning of sanctions as well as Turkey’s possible expulsion from the F-35 stealth fighter programme and from the Transatlantic alliance. Turkey began taking delivery of S-400 systems on Friday, and as of Sunday had accepted seven shipments. 

“At a minimum this should mean the end of Turkey’s participation in the F-35 fighter programme,” said WSJ. “The S-400 was more or less designed to shoot down NATO planes.”

Yet ousting Turkey from NATO would be a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the WSJ added, and could lead to the United States losing its air base at Incirlik and Turkey attacking U.S.-allied Kurdish militias in northern Syria. Erdoğan’s successor may rethink his hostility to the West, so WSJ calls for stopping short of NATO expulsion. 

“But Mr. Erdogan has to suffer some consequences, or the obligations of an alliance shrink to nothing. President Trump sounded conciliatory on the S-400 decision at the recent G-20 summit, and perhaps the Turk interpreted that as a sign he would get a sanctions pass,” said WSJ. “If Mr. Trump blinks in response, Congress will have to show Mr. Erdoğan the cost of betraying an ally.”