Jun 13 2019

Turkey should receive S-400s on anniversary of ‘Western-backed failed coup’ - columnist

Turkey should respond to Washington by taking delivery of the Russian S-400 missile system on July 15, the third anniversary of a coup attempt backed by western powers, according to columnist Bercan Tutar in pro-government Sabah daily on Wednesday.

U.S.-Turkey relations have soured in recent weeks as Washington has increased the pressure on Ankara over its decision to buy the Russian-made S-400 system, which U.S. officials have repeatedly said will compromise NATO defences

Last week, acting U.S. Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan sent a letter to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar last week outlining how Turkey’s participation in the U.S.’ F-35 fighter jet programme would end by July 31 unless Turkey withdrew from its deal with Moscow. 

U.S. Congress has shown bipartisan support for imposing measures against Turkey, including sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution on Monday calling on Turkey to cancel its planned acquisition of the Russian missiles, or face U.S. sanctions. 

According to Tutar, such moves reflect what he calls the “neurotic mentality” of the United States, which opposes Turkey’s operations against Washington’s influence agents inside the country and the Gülen movement, a religious group the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt. 

Habertürk news site on Monday reported that, wary of Washington’s increased pressure on Ankara, Moscow wanted to complete the installation of the first S-400 system by July 15.

Referring to “The Ugly American”, a 1958 political novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer, which according to Tutar reveals the “racist, incompetent, and visionless” U.S. administrations, the columnist said Washington deserved a response in a language that it would understand.

“In order to put a footnote in history, the delivery of the S-400 missiles should be made on July 15, the third anniversary of the Western-backed failed coup,” he said. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday broke his silence on Shanahan’s letter and reiterated that the S-400 deal with Moscow was complete. 

According to Mehmet Acet, a columnist of pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper, Erdoğan is determined to go ahead with plans to acquire the S-400, because he believes reversing the decision would not put U.S.-Turkey relations back on track. 

“A feeling of distrust that has been deepening and strengthening as a result of experiences and past events,” Acet said. 

Ankara’s concerns that a back step in S-400 purchase would harm the country’s efforts to build a domestic defence industry is the second reason behind Turkish government’s attitude, Acet said. 

Meanwhile, another columnist of Yeni Şafak, Nedret Erensel, said that it was uncertain whether the Turkish military really wanted to acquire F-35 stealth jets, citing some reports of the Turkish Air Force. 

“Now is the time for this question: Does Turkey really want those planes? Or is it pursuing a policy to get rid of this ‘burden’ but wants to do that by America’s initiative, by making the United States leave the table,” he said.