May 21 2019

Erdoğan’s S-500 plan likely to backfire on Turkey - analysis

Turkish President Recep Erdoğan’s plan to cooperate with Russia on S-500 missile system production is likely to increase Congressional efforts to punish Ankara for its planned S-400 purchase and could end Turkey’s participation in other U.S. programmes, said an analysis at U.S. news outlet The Drive.

Turkey is already at risk of getting kicked out of the U.S.’ F-35 fighter jet programme for its planned purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.

“The S-500 announcement also follows Russia's offer to sell Turkey Su-57 advanced fighter jets if its F-35 deal collapses, yet another example of how the Kremlin has been steadily working to pull Ankara into its orbit in recent years,” the Drive said on Monday.

U.S. and NATO officials have spoken out against Turkey’s planned S-400 purchase, warning that it could expose vulnerabilities in NATO military hardware, including within the new generation F-35 stealth fighter jet.

As the July delivery for the S-400 system has neared, Washington has increased pressure on Turkey to cancel or postpone the deal with Moscow. In April, the Pentagon put deliveries and activities associated with Turkey’s F-35 operations on hold until Ankara abandons the S-400 purchase.

Turkish President Recep Erdoğan revealed on Saturday that Turkey planned to cooperate with Russia on the S-500 missile system. Russia has described the S-500 -- which reportedly hit a target 300 miles away in 2018, a world record for any surface-to-air missile system -- as a compliment to the S-400, rather than a replacement for that system, according to the Drive.

“For Turkey, it could certainly help massively expand the scope and capabilities of the country's aging air defense network, which presently relies heavily on Cold War-era American MIM-23 HAWK and British Rapier systems,” said the Drive.

Erdoğan may believe announcing a S-500 deal could force the United States to acquiesce to his demands, but this seems unlikely given bipartisan opposition in Congress to the S-400 purchase, according to the Drive.

“A potential order for the new air defense systems...could potentially prompt additional calls from American legislators to cut Turkey off from participation in a host of other U.S.-led weapon systems programs and end lucrative deals that allow U.S. forces to operate from various Turkish bases,” said the Drive.

“If members of Congress were willing to look for ways to close the door on Turkish participation on the F-35 over the S-400 order, it's hard to see how those efforts won't redouble in the face of this new S-500 deal.”

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/28122/now-turkey-says-it-will-work-with-russia-to-build-the-s-500-air-defense-system