this would lead to western technicians reverse-engineering russian stuff and vice versa

NATO Member Turkey Turns to Russia for Air Defense Cooperation
Peter Kortzun, Strategic Culture, Jul 16 2017

Turkey has agreed to pay $2.5b to acquire S-400, the Russia-made long-range missile defense system, the most advanced in the world. Pres Putin has already said that Moscow is ready to sell it. According to Presidential Adviser Vladimir Kozhin, Russia’s contract with Turkey has been agreed in general, with financial details still to be ironed out. The system is capable of intercepting all types of modern air weaponry, including fifth-generation warplanes, as well as ballistic and cruise missiles at a maximum range of nearly 250 miles. According to the preliminary agreement, Ankara is to receive two S-400 missile batteries within the next year, and then produce another two inside Turkey, although the Turkish defense industry has no experience of producing such systems. Not yet.

Unlike NATO’s PAC-3s temporarily deployed in Turkey some time ago, the Russian S-400 deal has no political strings attached and could potentially boost Turkey’s defense industry, bringing Russian-Turkish military cooperation to an unprecedented level. The two nations will work together for many years and the process is likely to encompass other areas of interaction. Last year, Russia and Turkey signed a declaration on partnership in defense industry. The parties agreed to form a joint military and intelligence mechanism to coordinate their activities in the Middle East. Ankara also seeks procurement deals with Russia in electronic systems, ammunitions and missile technology. In 2013, Turkey wanted to purchase the HQ-9 long-range air defense system from China, but it had to scupper the deal in 2015, due to political pressure from Pindostan & NATO. Not this time. The pressure is there, but Turkey stands tall. It wants the best, and the best is the S-400. Today, the Turkish government is pursuing a more independent policy while its ties with NATO, Eurostan & Pindostan are getting increasingly strained. The deal is a clear shift on Turkey’s part away from NATO and the West. The system won’t be compatible with the rest of the alliance for the purposes of integration. In Mar 2017, Pres Erdogan said:

Being a NATO member does not mean we are not independent. We can have close ties with Russia while performing our responsibilities toward NATO. We find objections on this matter inappropriate.

Turkey has been angered by what it sees as lukewarm condemnation by its Western allies of the abortive Jul 2016 putsch against Pres Erdogan. Ankara suspected that the West had a role to play. Russia was the first country to be visited by Erdogan after the failed coup. The idea of joining the EU has lost its attraction for Ankara as the union is facing a number of problems, including Brexit, the refugee crisis, the surge of far-right movements and the creation of blocs within the bloc while the concepts of «two-speed Europe» and «multi-speed Europe» are seriously considered as alternatives to the EU we know today. The territorial dispute between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea and Turkey’s support for Northern Cyprus has traditionally spoiled relations between Turkey and NATO. According to the NATO 2016 annual report, Turkey took part in only four of the 18 key NATO exercises held last year. Despite having the fourth-strongest military in the bloc and the second-highest number of military personnel, Turkey’s involvement in NATO’s deployments amounts to just 4% of the personnel in the mission to train the Afghan security forces, and 7% of the Kosovo force.

Turkey has recently blocked some rolling programs with NATO, including political events, civilian projects and military training, in an escalation of its diplomatic dispute with a number of European states. The action encompasses many more areas of NATO’s activities as the programs cover most of Europe, plus many countries in the Middle East and Asia. As its relations with the West sour, Turkey is looking for other partners. Russia and Turkey lead the management crisis process in Syria. With Daesh retreating everywhere, the time draws nearer when Russia and Turkey will face the question about what to do next. It could be the start of forming a broader alliance. If the coordination of efforts in Syria is successful, the lucrative prospect in bilateral trade, mutual investment, tourism and the Turkish Steam gas project will provide a powerful impetus to the development of relationship.
Erdogan made the first statement about the possibility of Turkey’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as far back as 2013, and repeated it again in 2016, saying:

Some may criticize me but I express my opinion. For example, I have said: “Why shouldn’t Turkey be in the Shanghai 5?”

Turkey was granted dialogue partner status in the SCO in 2012. This year, Ankara chairs the SCO Energy Club. The SCO’s clout is rapidly increasing in the world. The accession would bring economic benefits for Turkey. Ankara is also showing increasing interest in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). It was invited to join the organization in 2014. Many of the present and potential members of the EAEU are countries with whom Turkey already has close relations in many fields. Ankara is also getting closer to Beijing. The two countries are closely cooperating to implement China’s the One Belt One Road project. Turkey is again taking the position as a key investment and cooperation partner that will help bridge the East and the West. Turkey’s gradual shift from the West to Eurasia and other partners is part of a broader process as the West gets weakened, divided and less attractive. The very notion of «Western unity» is fading away. Unsurprisingly, as its relations with the West sour, Turkey is reaching out to other poles of power. The S-400 deal conforms to the trend.

One Comment

  1. Posted July 18, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I recall reading that Russia downgrades it’s export versions of weapon systems.

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