Erdogan says Turkey and Russia will undertake joint production of S-400

On 13 June, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that not only Turkey will acquire the Russian S-400 air-defence system, but it will work with Moscow on the joint production of this installation and possibly on its next generation, the S-500. This turn of events proves that Erdogan's believes he can ignore the pleas and criticism of his allies, who, on one hand, point out to the lack of interoperability on NATO level with the S-400 system, while on the other, warn Turkey against making this purchase from a revisionist adversary.

This statement also opens the possibility that Erdoğan might have changed this might with regard to his earlier reassurances that the  S-400 purchase was a non-political, short-term solution for Turkey who never had its own air-defence system. At the same time, it must be added that Turkey has awarded on 5 January the Franco-Italian Eurosam consortium a contract to study the feasibility of a possible future Turkish Long Range Air and Missile Defence System. It is possible that since then, and in response to Turkey's relations with the West constantly worsening, Erdoğan decided to raise the stakes and take a step closer to Russia, in spite of the fact that the US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis has repeatedly stated that he still intends to persuade Ankara to renounce the deal, and purchase a Western-made system instead. But neither the threat of sanctions from the US, nor the warning that Washington might withhold the delivery of latest generations of weapons systems to Turkey, has so far dissuaded Ankara from the deal with Russia. On the contrary, as the list of contentious issues between Turkey and its Western Allies is constantly growing, Erdogan, whose manner of government has become increasingly authoritarian, while his politico-diplomatic cooperation with Russia and Iran is ever-closer, has repeatedly signalled he would not back off from further escalation. 

 

 

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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