erdogan has an advantage over NATO right now

Turkey signs deal to get Russian S-400
BBC, Sep 12 2017

Turkey has signed a controversial deal with Russia to arm its forces with Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles. Pres Erdogan said a deposit had already been paid. The deal is thought to be worth $2.5b. Turkey has the second largest army in NATO, which reacted sceptically to the decision, saying the system was not compatible with its equipment. Turkey has been establishing closer links with Russia after its recent souring of ties with Pindostan & Eurostan. Russia says the S-400 system has a range of 400 km and can shoot down up to 80 targets simultaneously, aiming two missiles at each one. Russia deployed the S-400 at its air force base near Latakia in Syria in Dec 2015, after Turkish jets had shot down a Russian Su-24 warplane on the Syria-Turkey border. That incident caused a diplomatic rift between Russia and Turkey, but Pres Erdogan later patched up his quarrel with Pres Putin. A military adviser said:

The S-400 contract with Turkey is strictly compatible with our strategic interests. On that score, one can quite understand the reaction of some Western countries who are trying to put pressure on Turkey.

Pres Erdogan, quoted by Hurriyet, voiced displeasure with unnamed Western partners who were “seeking enormous amounts of money” for military drones. He said Turkey had killed 90 YPG “terrorists” in the past week with Turkish drones, developed because the Western ones were too expensive. He stressed:

We are responsible for taking security measures for the defence of our country.

The BBC’s Mark Lowen in Turkey says the missile deal is clearly a rebuff to NATO, after Pindostan and Germany withdrew PAC-3 batteries from Turkey. In 2015, Turkey urged its NATO allies to keep those batteries positioned on the Turkish-Syrian border. Speaking to AFP, an unnamed NATO boxtop said:

No NATO ally currently operates the S-400. NATO has not been informed about the details of any purchase.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Berlin would put all arms exports to Turkey on hold due to the deteriorating relationship between the two nations. Gabriel’s counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu said the comments were inappropriate for a foreign minister. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since Turkey arrested a Turkish-German journalist in February as part of a crackdown on political opponents in the country. Last month, Pres Erdogan called Germany’s ruling politicians “enemies of Turkey.” Turkey is also angry with Pindostan for not extraditing Fethullah Gulen. Turkey’s decision has both practical and political significance. Inevitably it will be seen as a further sign of Ankara’s gradual estrangement from its Western allies. Turkey has been in the market for new air defences for some time. Four years ago it flirted with the idea of buying a Chinese system. But after pressure from its NATO allies it backed away from the deal. Choosing a Russian system which will be hard, if not impossible, to integrate into NATO’s wider air defence system makes little strategic sense. In Nov 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that it said had intruded into its airspace from Syria. But since then much has changed. On regional policy Ankara and Moscow are more closely aligned, and Turkey’s internal policies are seen as increasingly repressive by many of its allies. In NATO generally, the only Russian equipment used is legacy hardware in the forces of former Warsaw Pact countries. Greece also has an earlier Russian air defence system that was first sold to Cyprus.

Turkey needles NATO by buying Russian weapons
Deutsche Welle, Sep 12 2017

Turkey has risked the anger of Pindostan and its fellow NATO members by signing a contract with Russia to buy a missile defense system. Pres Erdogan told Turkish media on Tuesday that Ankara had put down a deposit on the Russian-made S-400 system, which according to the manufacturers can shoot down up to 80 targets at the same time and has a range of 400 km. Faschingstein had long been warning Ankara against this purchase, and made increasingly disgruntled diplomatic noises about it. Ben Cardin, the top Demagog on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, muttered darkly that the purchase could violate pindo sanctions against Russia. For its part, Moscow remained sanguine in response. An aide to Pres Putin told TASS:

I can assure that all the decisions made for this contract strictly comply with our strategic interests. In this regard, the reaction of some Western countries that are trying to put pressure on Turkey is completely understandable to us.

For NATO, the trouble with the S-400 weapons system is that it is not technically compatible with the systems it has in place in Turkey. In other words, Erdogan seems to have decided to build a military capacity independent of NATO. Guney Yildiz, Turkey specialist at the European CFR, said:

A nationally controlled defense system has become a strategic priority for the upper echelons of the Turkish government in recent years. It makes sense, because if everything is integrated with NATO, then NATO commanders have full control over Turkish military systems. There have been signs of NATO jealousy about Turkey’s arms deals before. A similar narrative played out over Turkey’s attempts to buy a Chinese missile system a few years ago. On that occasion, Pindostan managed to successfully dissuade the Turks, but since then several things have changed: Pindostan left a vacuum in the Middle East, and Turkey tried to fill it in Syria and elsewhere by trying to directly confront Russia and Iran, and it failed really badly. Turkey was the scene of an attempted coup last year. Turkish fighter jets were bombing Turkish institutions. Now they feel they might need a non-NATO air defense system in case they come under attack by some factions in their own military.

On the other hand, a Russian missile system also means Russian control. Marc Pierini, former EU diplomat and analyst at Carnegie Europe, said:

It is a very significant development. This is a missile defense system that is going to be hosted by the Turkish air force, and the Turkish air force has no experience of anti-missile systems, therefore it is going to come with a significant number of Russian advisors, trainers, and operators and so on. So at the top of the Turkish air force defense architecture, you’re going to have Russians.

The low point of this attempt at regional self-assertion came when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that had encroached on its territory in late 2015 – which makes the new rapprochement more surprising. Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, director of the German Marshall Fund’s office in Ankara, said:

If you’d asked me six months ago I would’ve said that it was unthinkable that Turkey chooses to purchase S-400 batteries, so this does mark a significant change in Turkey’s approach.

Since then, Ankara has changed tack, “pivoted away” from the West, as the jargon goes, and is now seeking regional allies anywhere it can, ie Russia. Not only that, Turkey is not exactly pleased by the way that Pindostan has been arming and training YPG Kurds in Syria. As if to give Turkey even more reason to shop elsewhere, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel confirmed this week that Germany would put all arms exports to Turkey “on hold,” because of the tensions between the two countries. The response from Ankara was prickly. Europe Minister Omer Celik said:

This decision will weaken Turkey’s fight against terrorism. Germany should keep its security concerns out of political discussions.

Some might say Erdogan’s main fight is against his enemies at home. In any case, the move has added spice to Germany’s strange, paradoxical new relationship with Turkey, a major trading partner and biggest political adversary. This all helps Russia’s cause, according to Unluhisarcikli, who said:

Russia has discovered that it can influence Turkish foreign policy through supporting Turkey’s military industry, and if Pindostan & Eurostan are unwilling to do the same thing, then actually Turkey might feel compelled to move away from the western orbit and closer to Russia. Russia has a very clear strategy of driving a wedge between Turkey and Pindostan, and particularly between Turkey and Germany.

Turkey will take its own security measures after Russia defence deal, Erdogan says
Reuters, Sep 13 2017

ANKARA – Pres Erdogan dismissed on Wednesday Western concern over Turkey’s deal to procure an S-400 air defence system from Russia and said the NATO member will continue to take its own security measures. Erdogan said:

They went crazy because we made the S-400 agreement. What were we supposed to do, wait for you? We are taking and will take all our measures on the security front.

Western governments have expressed concern over the deal as it cannot be integrated into the NATO system. Turkey has said that NATO allies had not presented a “financially effective” offer on alternative missile defence systems. Erdogan said in July that the deal had been signed, although the deal appears to have been drawn out since then, due to issues over financing. Turkish media quoted Erdogan this week as saying he and Pres Putin were determined that the agreement should proceed. The Pentagon said it had expressed concerns to Turkey about the deal. A spox said in a statement:

We have relayed our concerns to Turkish officials regarding the potential purchase of the S-400. A NATO interoperable missile defence system remains the best option to defend Turkey from the full range of threats in its region.

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