It is really fascinating to observe the whole process but Turks seem to be in full reactive armor mode and refuse to yield to US pressure on the issue of F-35, which is, by default, the issue of S-400.
Turkey warned on Wednesday that it could buy jets and additional air defense systems from Russia if it cannot get Patriot missile shields and F-35 jets from Washington, raising the prospect of ever deeper defense ties between Moscow and a NATO member.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s existing plans to buy Russian S-400 missile defenses have already alarmed the United States, which says they are not compatible with NATO systems and would compromise the security of F-35 jets Turkey is due to receive.
Washington has offered Ankara both carrot and stick in response, proposing to sell it the Raytheon Co. Patriot systems instead of the S-400s, while at the same time warning of sanctions and a halt in the F-35 fighter jet sales if the Russian deal goes ahead.
Turkey has shown no sign of giving ground and Erdogan, who held talks with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week, was quoted on Wednesday as saying the July date for delivery of the first S-400s could even be brought forward.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also reiterated Turkey’s stance that the S-400 purchase was a done deal and that it would meet its defense needs from elsewhere if necessary.
“If the United States is willing to sell, then we’ll buy Patriots. However, if the United States doesn’t want to sell, we may buy more S-400s or other systems,” Cavusoglu told Turkish broadcaster NTV.
“If the F-35s don’t work out, I will again have to procure the jets I need from elsewhere … There are (Russian) SU-34, SU-57 and others. I will absolutely meet my needs from somewhere until I can produce it myself,” he said.
My main question here is if Turkey knows that F-35 is a….turkey? I am pretty sure Turks do. Of course, behind all this back-and-forth on S-400 are things much more substantial than even top-notch air defense for Turkey—namely massive economic developments in Eurasia.
It is also obvious that Turks are now in the bargain mode with Russia across the whole spectrum of issues — gas, nuclear power, military, tourism, agriculture, to name a few — and that could be indicative of a tectonic shift in Turkey’s geopolitical orientation but we cannot be sure 100% yet.
On F-35 issue, however, one should not discount the possibility of Turks getting off at the last opportunity from this program in order for a bigger, better thing. This thing are Su-35 of latest modifications and Su-57 which is hitting serial production in 2020 and China expressing interest in this aircraft while already operating full Russian versions of Su-35.
And so the drama is being played out in a front of our very own eyes (and ears). Turkey is getting S-400 (for warm-up), now what will Greece do? Who knows, but implications are enormous for Turkey, NATO and, of course, the United States.
The US knows that this could be bad, very bad but with Trump being surrounded with neocons and Israel having very serious issues with Turkey, who said that the White House will not continue with self-defeating policies in general, and towards Turkey in particular because of Israel— you may see it for yourself.
Most likely Trump and his “court” of Israeli-firsters, aided by US Congress fully corrupted and bought by Israeli lobby, will continue to self-destruct to make Israeli masters feel better, and situation with Turkey is one such example.
So, here are the news of today and for now, at least, it seems the contract will go ahead but, again, knowing that in this region words mean very little we just have to wait how it will play out to the very end. Fascinating!