Purchase of S-400 system to formalise Ankara’s new alignment with Moscow - Jerusalem Post
Turkey’s procurement of the Russian S-400 air and missile defence system in July of this year will mark the realignment of Ankara’s interests away from Washington and toward Moscow, precipitate Turkey’s exit from the NATO alliance, wrote Micha’el Tanchum, a fellow at the Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, for the Jerusalem Post.
Washington regards the Russian system as incompatible with NATO systems and posing a special danger for the F-35 stealth fighter, the next mainstay of U.S. airpower, Tanchum underlined, recalling that 20 days after the contract between Moscow and Ankara went into effect, on January 20, 2018, Turkey launched a second military operation into northern Syria.
“U.S. President Donald Trump’s backtracking on his December 19, 2018, announcement of a complete US withdrawal from Syria and his January 13, 2019, threat to “devastate Turkey economically if they hit the Kurds” reinforced the contours of the realignment during a potential reset opportunity for Turkey-US relations,’’ Tanchum noted.
Ankara is faced with possible U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act and the cancellation of its participation in the F-35 programme, should it go through with the purchase.
Turkey has already invested over $1.25 billion in the F-35 programme by manufacturing parts for the aircraft and providing services, the Jerusalem Post article noted, adding that. expulsion from the programme and sanctions against Turkish defence companies would result in multi-billion dollar losses for Turkey’s defence industries.
Furthermore, Turkish companies Aselsan and Roketsan may be ousted from participating in the SAMP/T system, which would likely stymie Turkey’s production and lucrative export of the T129 attack helicopter whose engines are produced by a joint venture of US and UK firms, it said.
Essentially, the above-mentioned developments would seal the divorce of Ankara and Washington, possibly even precipitating Turkey’s formal exit from NATO, Tanchum wrote, ‘’unless concessions are forthcoming from the US to induce Turkey to reciprocate by finding a face-saving way out of installing the S-400, such as sending it to Azerbaijan, a strategic divorce may not be averted.’’
As such, the article concluded, Turkey will be on the path to joining a post-American alliance architecture.