Turkey's S-400 determination in 10 questions

Posted March 11, 2019

Under a deal reached last fall, on March 8 Turkey and Russian Federation started patrols in and around the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib.

In addition, acting press secretary Charlie Summers said that they will forfeit any potential purchase of Patriot missiles as well, Defense News reported.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that no state has the right to try to prevent Turkey from purchasing the S-400, particularly if they didn't want to sell their own systems to Ankara themselves. He has previously criticized Ankara for not doing more in the fight against the Islamic State group, and was particularly vocal about Turkey's detention of an American pastor released last year. Ankara may even seek to procure Russia's next generation S-500 system, he said.

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Turkey faces "grave consequences" if it continues plans to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system, including being blocked from buying the F-35 and Patriot systems, the Pentagon's top spokesman said Friday.

Turkey does not want to jeopardise efforts to find common ground with Russian Federation on Syria, and has little time remaining for second thoughts as the S-400s' delivery date approaches, he said. The Syrian Democratic Forces would vanguard the USA -led coalition's ground campaign against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), but Turkey felt Kurdish separatists posed as great, or an even greater, threat than Sunni Muslim jihadis. At risk for the USA is the delivery of the aircraft to other allies in the consortium, which could face significant delays if Turkey were cut out, due to its role in production.

The State Department has already authorized a $3.5 billions sale of the Patriot missile system to Turkey, but officials say Ankara will not receive it unless they ditch their deal with Russian Federation.

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But in the larger political context, Mr Stein said the the S-400 deal "appears to be a political arrangement between Mr Erdogan and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, so any last minute cancellation would also have spill over effects on their personal relationship".

But recent moves by the country to deepen ties with Russian Federation have raised concerns among USA lawmakers.

Erdogan considers these forces inextricably linked with Kurdish terrorist groups operating domestically and in Syria, and the Turkish military has already begun targeting elements of these units to ensure they don't maintain control along the Turkish border once the Islamic State group is defeated.

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In June 2018 a military-diplomatic source told TASS that Russia's defense companies are working to complete S-400 deliveries to Turkey in May 2019.