Turkey paying high price for Erdoğan’s ‘Russian romance’ - analyst
The Russian S-400 missile systems have come at a high price for Turkey and the move is set to further push Ankara into the Moscow orbit, wrote Burak Bekdil, fellow at the Middle East forum, Burak Bekdil, wrote for the Begin Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA).
The U.S. sanctions imposed on Turkey last month over the systems is not the only price the country will have to pay for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “Russian romance,’’ Bekdil wrote, pointing to the $2.5 billion Ankara handed over for a defence system it is likely to never use.
The U.S. sanctions via the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) bans all export licenses and authorisations for the Turkish Defence Industries (SSB), while issuing asset and visa restrictions against Ismail Demir, the body's president, and other Turkish defence industry officials.
The acquisition also cost Turkey its partnership in the U.S.-led multinational Joint Strike Fighter programme that is building the next-generation F-35 fighter, he underlined, pointing out that the cost of this to Turkey’s defence industry around $10 billion over the next decade.
Moreover, the CAATSA against Turkey means Turkey will not be able to export any weapons systems to third-party countries, should they include U.S.-made parts.
The sanctions have also effectively killed a 2018 deal with Turkish aerospace powerhouse TAI for a $1.5 billion contract to sell a batch of 30 T129 attack helicopters to Pakistan, he wrote.
Turkey is dependent on the United States to grant an export license for the T129’s twin engines.
“Western embargoes and sanctions on Turkey will likely push the NATO ally further into Moscow’s orbit, especially in defense procurement,’’ Bekdil wrote.
This will then push exploratory efforts to see “what systems Russia can supply to Turkey and what (limited) degree of technology transfer it may allow,’’ he added.