Russian S-400 Finally In Turkey. How Will Washington Respond?

12.07.2019

Since 2017, politicians and experts have been debating whether Turkey will buy Russian air defense systems despite US threats. Today, all these arguments have broken about the harsh reality. Turkish media have spread on Twitter video from the IL-76, landed at the Murted airbase near Ankara. On board the Russian cargo liner, the first components of the S-400 Triumph SAM system arrived.

Point of no return

Today can be considered historical. The entry of Russian weapons into the Turkish land becomes a “point of no return” in relations between Washington and Ankara. The Trump administration, the State Department and the Pentagon have repeatedly warned that they would impose sanctions against Turkey if it dares to buy Russian weapons. But the Turks did not flinch.

The deal signed by Erdogan and Putin in 2017 did not suit the Americans for several reasons. The United States believes that the S-400 is incompatible with the NATO systems that are equipped with the Turkish army. Turkey buys F-35 fighter jets. Having Russian anti-aircraft missile systems (ZRK) in their hands, the Turks will be able to study the possibility of using the S-400 against American aircraft and pass on military secrets to the Russians.

The third reason, which the State Department and the Pentagon do not speak out loud about, is Washington’s intention to prevent Turkey from coming closer to Russia. Ankara is a key ally of the Americans in the region. American fighter jets and dozens of US nuclear bombs are standing at the Incirlik airbase. The Turkish army is the second largest in NATO. “Giving” such a valuable partner to the Russians means losing your influence in the Middle East.

What sanctions can the US impose?

Voluntarily force Erdogan to cancel the deal with the Russians did not work. After a series of betrayals by the "ally" - an attempt of the coup and the support of the Kurds in Syria. Considering that for the US the supply of S-400 is a threat to national security, the White House has two options: either to accept or to impose sanctions.

To punish the Turks, the Americans have a number of options. The first penalties have already been introduced - Turkish pilots were banned from training on F-35 fighters bought by Ankara. The next step could be the complete exclusion of Turkey from the F-35 program and a ban on their deliveries from the United States.

The White House could also introduce trade sanctions, raise tariffs on certain goods from Turkey. Last summer, because of the refusal to release Pastor Andrew Brunson from prison, Trump raised duties on Turkish steel and aluminum.

The most serious option would be to disconnect the Turkish government from the US financial system.

The United States will certainly impose sanctions, which themselves will suffer.

The only thing the USA will achieve is that they will lose Ankara as an ally. In Turkey, few people believe that the pressure of Washington is appropriate. In this matter, Erdogan was able to convince the citizens of the country.

The deal on the S-400 is more profitable than the unsuccessful purchase of Patriot air defense missiles by the Turks.

S-400 is advanced technology and the best at the moment. Secondly, the transaction involves the transfer of technology. Thirdly - the price and credit. Russian S-400s cost $ 500 million, while the American Patriot Pac-2 and THAAD prototypes would cost $ 2 billion and $ 3 billion, respectively. The S-400 shoots farther and simultaneously at several targets, and also has a wider range of action.

Negative economic consequences will affect domestic political processes in Turkey. Under sanctions, dissatisfaction with Erdogan in the country will grow, which could exacerbate the split within the AKP and lead to early parliamentary elections.

Washington’s harsh actions will be disastrous for both NATO members. Erdogan, cornered, may demand that the Americans leave Ingirlik, just as he drove the Germans out of it in 2017. In the long run, everything may end with the beginning of the withdrawal of Turkey from the North Atlantic alliance. Such a turnaround to the European Union is unprofitable, because it will make it a choice. The beneficiaries will be Russia and China, to which Turkey will orient itself more than ever before.