Will Turkey abandon Russian S-400 air defense systems to buy F-35s?

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Such a statement, but not as a question, but as a fact, is quoted in some Russian media. According to Russian authors, Ankara is ready to abandon Russia’s S-400 air defense systems and resume negotiations with Washington to purchase US Patriot air defense systems and fifth-generation F-35 fighters, respectively.

The Turkish S-400 issue also involved Syrian sources in similar allegations. According to the Syria military capability, Ankara is even ready to end all military-technical and industrial relations with Moscow. The Syrians claim that Turkey will sell Russian air defense systems to a third country. Some military analysts go even further, saying that Ankara is even ready to sell its missile systems to Washington.

This statement is not the first time such information has appeared, but its current distribution is related to the Turkish S-400 air defense system’s tests together with USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea.

A few days ago, we announced that Moscow was continuing to deny Ankara the provision of S-400 technology. Some sources claim that Turkey will try to develop its air defense systems based on S-400 technology.

The provocation began in Washington

The information that the United States is ready to buy the Turkish S-400 first appeared last June. Then, in a draft law to the budget for national defense in 2021, a section was included in which the United States will allocate money for the purchase of the Turkish S-400. This purchase and amendment to the bill had proposed by South Dakota’s representative in the Senate faction John Thune.

On the same day (June 30, 2020 – ed.), Russia reacted immediately and sharply. Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Russian State Duma’s international relations commission, said Turkey would not abandon the Russian S-400s, but that if it did, it risks seriously straining bilateral relations.

“Republican Senator John Tun’s proposal to buy the S-400 from Turkey, which is supposed to resolve the dispute between Ankara and Washington, is unprincipled, cynical, but I hope it is unlikely to be accepted by the Turkish side,” Slutsky told reporters.

Turkey remains steadfast in its decision

To this day, Ankara remains firm in its position and unwavering in its decision on the Russian S-400. In March last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan categorically stated that Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400 was based solely on protecting Turkish airspace and the country’s territorial integrity.

According to the Turkish president, this purchase has nothing to do with NATO or the American F-35 fighters. “Everyone knows that this issue has nothing to do with NATO, the F-35 project, or US security,” Erdogan told a meeting of the Turkish Youth Foundation (TUGVA) in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir.

On the same day, Erdogan did not criticize his US partners again, saying Turkey was under pressure from friends. Erdogan said Turkey is facing pressure to buy an S-400 air defense system, adding: “The issue is not the S-400. This decision is because Turkey is acting voluntarily on regional development, especially Syria.”

Turkey wants to buy another S-400

Against the background of all allegations of the sale and abandonment of Russian air defense systems, Turkey is continuing negotiations with Russia to purchase a second regiment with an S-400 air defense system. Over the past year, we have repeatedly informed the public that Ankara has such an intention.

The last confirmation of this information came in January 2021, when Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar issued a statement.

“The tests of the S-400 systems, which we acquired from the Russian Federation, are continuing; we are trying to carry out the work in the planned format. Negotiations for the acquisition of their second regiment are ongoing. We expect the United States to understand the situation. which does not correspond to allied relations is unacceptable. Returning from the moment we arrive is a very problematic situation,” Akar, quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

The S-400 caused a crisis

Russia’s S-400 air defense systems have caused a crisis in US-Turkish relations. We can say that this decision caught members of NATO and the European Union unprepared.

Turkey has refused to buy US Patriot air defense systems. In dozens of speeches, the Turkish president and Turkish foreign minister have said that Washington has asked too high a price for its missile systems. Simultaneously, Russia has offered Turkey the S-400 at a much lower cost, although the S-400 is better in performance than American systems.

Washington took immediate action and expelled Turkey from the F-35 program. Turkey was supposed to buy at least 100 F-35 fighters, but Washington’s decision put the Turkish Air Force to the test. Turkey currently has the F-16 as the highest class fighter to be upgraded. At the same time, Ankara will soon have a middle-class aircraft carrier, but the lack of an F-35 in the Turkish Air Force has turned the aircraft carrier into a cargo ship.

Washington has imposed financial sanctions on Turkey for the purchase of the S-400. However, Turkey continues to insist on its decision and is likely to buy a second regiment from the Russians. The media has also been leaking rumors in recent months that Ankara and Moscow will develop the S-400 in the future.

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