U.S. sanctions not guaranteed to change Turkey's mind on S-400 – Stratfor
U.S. sanctions are not certain to force Turkey to compromise on its purchase of Russian S-400 missiles, and the debate may continue to spoil bilateral relations in the future, U.S-based analysis platform Stratfor said on Thursday.
The two NATO allies have been in a row over the S-400 purchase for months, with Washington arguing that the Russian systems are both incompatible with and pose a security threat to NATO defence systems.
Washington is preparing to impose measures against Ankara, including sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and expulsion from the F-35 fighter jet programme over the purchase.
"While Turkey is well-aware of the economic consequences of its choice, domestic political considerations are propelling Ankara to override economic considerations and choose the Russian system," Stratfor said.
For Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), buying the Russian system over the objections of the United States also delights the nationalists and ultranationalists who make up a sizeable portion of his political base.
These typically anti-American segments who wish to see Turkey act more independently in pursuit of its national interests.
Nationalists form the majority of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP)'s support base, and they enjoy seeing Turkey having a free hand despite U.S. officials' objections, according to Stratfor.
"But the fragile state of Turkey's economy does pose the question of whether such political brinkmanship is worth it for Ankara," the website said.
Turkey's economic problems may overwhelm its commitment to the S-400 deal and make room for negotiations after U.S. sanctions are imposed. However, a complete withdrawal from the deal with Russia is not likely, according to Stratfor.
"But there is, ultimately, no guarantee that even major U.S. economic pressure will force a compromise, meaning the S-400 debate may sour U.S.-Turkish relations for years to come."