US proposal to buy S-400 missile systems from Turkey is cynical and won’t happen
MOSCOW, (BM) – Turkey will not abandon the Russian S-400 air defense systems, even a hypothetical discussion of re-export could complicate Ankara’s bilateral relations with Moscow, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Leonid Slutsky statement, chairman of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, commenting on the initiative of the US senator.
“The proposal of Republican Senator John Thune to buy S-400 from Turkey, supposedly to resolve the contradictions between Ankara and Washington, is unprincipled, cynical, but I hope it is unlikely to be accepted by the Turkish side,” Slutsky told reporters on Tuesday.
He noted that “the purpose of S-400 purchases for Turkey was, inter alia, to control airspace with the help of Russian air defense systems to ensure national security and sovereignty.”
“It is unlikely that Ankara will abandon these goals for the sake of imaginary benefits. Moreover, even the US sanctions did not force the Turkish leadership to break the agreement,” said the head of the committee.
In this situation, it’s far from the last factor that “even a hypothetical discussion of such re-export can complicate bilateral relations with Russia and undermine trust in the framework of strategic partnership,” Slutsky said, and he believes that Turkey is aware of this.
Republican Senator Thune suggested that the United States could buy Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) from Turkey, thereby resolving a series of contradictions with Ankara, Defense News reported.
According to the publication, Thune proposed an amendment to the law on budgetary allocations for national defense for fiscal year 2021, which would allow procurement using the US Army budget for the acquisition of missile weapons.
Turkey’s assurances that it will not buy other military equipment incompatible with NATO’s requirements with the proceeds are called the purchase condition.
Meanwhile, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Rice introduced an amendment that would oblige the Trump administration to impose sanctions under Turkey’s CAATSA within 30 days after the adoption of the budget law on national defense for 2021 fiscal year.
It is noted that there is no guarantee that any of these amendments can be included in the law on budgetary appropriations for national defense for 2021. In addition, even if the amendments are agreed by the Senate, it is likely that they will not be held in the US House of Representatives.
Ankara bought four S-400 divisions from Moscow. On October 23, 2019, Rosoboronexport announced that Russia had fulfilled the contract ahead of schedule by supplying Turkey with all elements of the S-400 systems, including missiles.
However, the United States has repeatedly expressed concern about Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400, as it was believed that Russia could use the S-400 to obtain information about the fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bombers. In addition, the Pentagon said that Turkey should return the S-400 air defense system to Russia if Ankara wants to get Patriot from the United States.
As we reported earlier today the United States can buy Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM), which are in service with the Turkish army, as part of legislative initiatives proposed in the Senate last week
According to Defense News, a corresponding amendment was proposed by John Thune, the Republican Senate faction’s organizer for the Senate [representative of South Dakota], to the draft law on budgetary allocations for national defense for the fiscal year 2021 (2021 National Defense Authorization Act, 2021 NDAA).
It involves the redemption of the S-400 complexes that Turkey has at the expense of the US Army budget for the acquisition of missile weapons.
Defense News is rather skeptical about the likelihood of both amendments coming into force [S-400 purchase and CAATSA – ed.]. The newspaper emphasizes that Senate leaders often agree among themselves amendments that do not cause any serious controversy. At the same time, discussions on them often stop even before any substantive discussion, the publication recalls.
At the same time, Erdogan is negotiating with Russia again for the S-400
Against the background of all this, the Turkish president continues talks with the Russian side to acquire more S-400 systems, even for joint production.
BulgarianMilitary recalls that on June 2 the negotiations between Russia and Turkey on the delivery of the second set of S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft systems was in an advanced stage, according the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Dmitry Shugaev.
“Negotiations are underway, this is a laborious process that requires a certain amount of time. But given the current restrictions in connection with the pandemic, it is not very grateful to predict the terms of concluding this contract,” TASS quoted him as saying.
Shugaev noted then that at the moment the parties are awaiting the final decision of Turkey.
In recent months, there have been signs that Turkey’s poor financial situation could force them to resell Russian S-400 systems.
We reported on May 15 that Ahmet Davutoglu in a live interview with a journalist of the newspaper Yeni Çağ said that Ankara and Washington could agree “behind closed doors” to not put into service the S-400 missile systems.
The Turkish Prime Minister draws such conclusions based on the statements of the American side and the fact that Turkey did not commission the S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems in April, as previously planned.
“Based on by the signals that we are observing from the USA, I get the impression that behind closed doors, Ankara and Washington could agree and Turkey to not put the S-400 into operation” the Turkish television channel indicates.
A number of Russian experts have expressed a similar opinion that Turkey’s difficult economic situation due to the country’s coronavirus pandemic could force Turkey to “sell” its Russian S-400 anti-aircraft defense systems to the United States.
According to them, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends to abandon the deployment of Russian air defense systems in the country. Such a decision was made under US pressure and apparently Russian complexes could be “sold” to Washington to investigate.
Then, several military experts explained that “the sale” should not be viewed literally, but metaphorically. I.e. Turkey cannot and does not have the right to resell these systems since their government has confirmed to the Russian Federation that Turkey is the end user. It seems the situation now is very different.
But at the same time, it can “freeze” their deployment and combat readiness, giving them access to US experts for exploration, analysis and full evaluation of their technical capabilities, as well as their most importnant part of them – the radar systems.
The same signals came from Israel. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz announced the idea that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends to accept the US request for Ankara’s refusal to use Russian air defense systems S-400.
“Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in a letter to President Donald Trump he hoped the U.S. Congress would better understand the strategic importance of their relations, given solidarity and supplies shared during the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Congress has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of S-400 defence systems from Russia, but the pandemic has delayed the plan to activate the systems as Ankara focuses on battling the disease at home” Haaretz notes.
In reality, there are already similar signals that Turkey may change its attitude on the subject of S-400.
Symbolic or not, as we reported on May 9 the Russian military was banned from being at military facilities where the ongoing deployment of S-400 air defense/missile defense systems in Turkey.
According to Turkish Defense Industry Directorate Ismail Demir, the control over the S-400 completely passes to the Turkish military, and the maintenance of these complexes will be entrusted to Turkish companies.
Russian-Turkish S-400 deal background
Russia and Turkey signed a multi-billion dollar contract for the supply of S-400 Triumph air defense systems in 2017. The deal provoked strong discontent from the United States. Washington threatened Ankara with sanctions, and then expelled her from the F-35 fighter program.
On April 30, an official representative of the Turkish leader, Ibrahim Kalyn, announced the suspension of the transaction for the supply of S-400 systems due to the coronavirus.
S-400 Triumph is an anti-aircraft missile system capable of destroying modern targets of an air attack, including ballistic missiles. The detection range is up to 600 km, the radius of the cover zone is 400 km.
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