“I think Russia outsmarted U.S. in the last few years when it comes to attracting Turkey toward it,” Bakeer told CNBC. “It would be a big mistake to help Moscow achieve its goals of widening the gap between the U.S. and Turkey and create a rift within NATO by imposing sanctions on Ankara.”
Russia started delivering advanced missile defence equipment to NATO member Turkey on Friday, the Defence Ministry in Ankara said, setting the stage for likely U.S. sanctions on Ankara. The dispute over the Russian S-400 air defence missiles, which the United States says are incompatible with NATO military systems and could threaten U.S. F-35 stealth fighter jets which Turkey has also ordered, is one of several issues which have frayed ties between the two allies. MISSILE DEFENCE Friday’s delivery of the first parts of the S-400s to a military air base outside Ankara is likely to trigger U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Under the CAATSA legislation, which targets purchases of military equipment from Russia, U.S. President Donald Trump should select five of 12 possible sanctions ranging from banning visas and denying access to the U.S.-based Export-Import Bank, to the harsher options of blocking transactions with the U.S. financial system and denying export licenses. Despite Erdogan’s assurances after meeting Trump last month that Turkey would not face sanctions, Washington also plans to remove it from the programme to produce the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet, an aircraft Turkey is helping to build and plans to buy. SYRIA TENSIONS Turkey is furious about U.S. support in Syria for the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara sees as a terrorist group. Washington is coordinating with Ankara and the YPG to establish a safe zone on Turkey’s southern border. Ankara wants YPG fighters to withdraw from the area to secure
Turkey said on Saturday there was no setback in its plan to buy Russian S-400 missile defence systems, despite U.S. opposition, and President Donald Trump expressed understanding for the decision but did not rule out sanctions in response. NATO allies Turkey and the United States have been at odds over Turkey’s decision to procure the S-400s, with the United States warning of sanctions if the deal goes through. Turkey has dismissed the warnings and said it would not back down, as already strained ties between the two countries have deteriorated further over the dispute. Speaking before talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Japan, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the deal for the S-400s showed improving ties between Turkey and Russia. “Now, I believe eyes are on the delivery process of this issue, but there are no setbacks in our agreement,” Erdogan said, adding that it was a priority for Turkey that the deal includes joint production of the systems and a technology transfer. Erdogan also said it was important for Turkey to finish the first reactor in the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, its first nuclear plant, by 2023. He said non-nuclear equipment at the plant should be procured from Turkey. The plant is being built by Russia’s Rosatom at a cost of more than $20 billion. Buying military equipment from Russia leaves Turkey vulnerable to U.S. retribution under a 2017 law known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The
Turkey will not back down from its decision to buy Russian S-400 missile defence systems despite U.S. warnings that it will lead to Ankara’s exclusion from the F-35 fighter jet programme, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday. In what has become the main source of tension between Ankara and Washington, the NATO allies have sparred publicly for months over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400s, which Washington has said could trigger U.S. sanctions. U.S. Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan last week sent his Turkish counterpart a letter warning that Ankara would be pulled out of the F-35 jet programme unless it changes course from its plans to install the defences. In what was Turkey’s first direct response to the letter, Cavusoglu said no one can give Turkey ultimatums. “Turkey will not back down from its decisions with these kinds of letters,” he said. “Turkey bought S-400, it is going to be delivered and stationed in Turkey.” The S-400s are not compatible with NATO’s defence systems and Washington says they would compromise its F-35s, which Turkey also plans to buy. Turkey has proposed that the allies form a working group to asses the impact of the S-400s, but has yet to receive a response from the United States. Cavusoglu on Thursday repeated Turkey’s call for the joint working group, saying experts from both countries should come together to evaluate U.S. concerns. A day earlier, President Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey had completed the deal with Russia and that the systems
Turkey and the United States have been at odds on several fronts including Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s, which cannot be integrated into NATO systems. Washington says it would jeopardise Turkey’s role in building Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, which it says would be compromised by S-400s.