U.S. -Turkey relations may be damaged beyond repair - NBC
Turkey’s decision to ignore Washington’s warnings and take delivery of Russian S-400 air defence missiles could signal a permanent rift in its alliance with the United States and test U.S. President Donald Trump's willingness to punish Ankara with sanctions, NBC News reported.
Turkey received the first parts of the Russian S-400s on Friday and more shipments since then. Washington has warned that Turkey cannot have both the S-400 missiles and U.S. F-35 fighter jets, as it maintains the Russian system poses a threat to the new stealth fighters.
Turkey faces the risk of U.S. sanctions and removal from the programme to build and fly F-35s.
"Western officials fear Russian engineers setting up the S-400 system could spy on American-made fighter jets that fly out of the U.S. Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, but they also see the project as a bid by Moscow to undermine the transatlantic alliance," the article said.
Eric Edelman, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey now at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments think tank, said there was “a major crisis ahead in U.S.-Turkish relations’’ that was “not going to get better any time soon."
Aykan Erdemir, a Turkish former member of parliament and now senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, told NBC news that the latest developments were emblematic of the greater shift in Turkey's orientation “away from the transatlantic alliance and its values, to the East and an authoritarian bloc of countries."
The S-400 is not the only issue driving a wedge between the two NATO allies.
Erdoğan has clashed with the United States over his crackdown on dissent following the 2016 coup attempt, U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela and support for Syrian Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State, the article said.
Once a vital democratic ally in the Muslim world and the Middle East, Turkey is proving to be no longer a reliable ally, according to NBC.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Monday pointed to disappointment on the Turkish side too.
Turkey’s waning hope in the United States was brought about especially by U.S. backing for Syria Kurdish forces, it said.
Turkey is also motivated by the United States’ unwillingness to extradite Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamist preacher that Ankara says was behind the 2016 coup, Haaretz said.
Regardless of its motivation, Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400s is “a breach of trust and confidence that Turkey will now be, informally at least, isolated within NATO’s different military and civilian structures," Haaretz said.