Turkey has taken the first step in acquiring Russian-made S-400 long-range air defence missile system from Russia.
According to the TV Channel Haber 7, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed the news and even went forward with a comment on the joint production of the system.
“We have made steps on this issue with the Russian Federation. Signatures have been put and I hope that we’ll see S-400 missiles in our country. We’ll also request the joint production of these systems,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan also emphasized on the fact that his country has been trying to get air defence missile systems from the United States for years, but was never able to reach a deal. He also added that Greece has been employing Russian-made S-300 for many years and the United States never raised a concern. Let’s not forget that both Turkey and Greece are NATO allies but has been dealing with airspace violations for years.
However, with Ankara moving closer to Moscow, the United States’ concerns are justified. If Ankara was to move away from the NATO alliance and start cooperating with Russia, the U.S. Navy would have less access to the Black Sea thus leaving its allies in the region without a sizeable fleet to counter Moscow’s dominance of the Black Sea.
Adding to that, with Russia’s powerful A2/AD in the region, Turkish S-400 would widen the protection bubble around the Black Sea if both countries would come to a co-operation agreement. Politically, Turkey would be invited to join the CSTO if it ever renounce to the NATO alliance, and could become one of the most powerful ally within the Russian-led alliance.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford mentioned that S-400 in Turkey could be a cause for Washington’s concern. Countering this statement, Erdogan pointed out that every country has the right to defend itself and ensure its own security; especially since the United States never allowed a sale of air defence missile system to Ankara.
The Kremlin refrained from commenting on the signature of the contract.