The Washington on a roll here:
The Pentagon has firmly rejected Turkey’s offer to create a bilateral working group that would ensure that no military secrets of the US are compromised once Ankara deploys the Russian S-400 air defense systems.
Trying to preserve a working relationship with Washington amid disagreements over Turkey’s purchase of modern weapon systems from Russia, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday proposed creating a bilateral technical panel to make sure that the S-400 “will not be a threat – neither to F-35s nor the NATO systems.”
He reiterated the need for such an arrangement on Thursday, before the Pentagon rejected the Turkish proposal, insisting that it stands opposed to American and Russian weapons working side-by-side.
“A technical working group at this stage isn’t necessary or a path the US is even considering as a resolution,” said Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon.
Turks offer assuage supposed American fears Russian-made S-400 air defense systems in Turkey will somehow give the Russians insight into how to better track and shoot down F-35s. The American response (translated):
This is not necessary, all that is necessary is that you capitulate. We are not even considering this.
There once was a time between around 2011 and 2016 when Erdogan’s Turkey was the third tail that wags the dog. Along with Israel and Saudi Arabia it was the third nominally US-allied power that could do anything, including go directly against US interest and projects in the Middle East, and still have unquestioned US backing. Those days are now well and truly over. These days Turkey is treated almost like a rogue state, ultimatums and all.
That said Washington is overplaying its hand here. By now it isn’t even about some anti-aircraft missiles anymore. By now the S-400 is a matter of national pride for Turks and a matter of preserving face for Erdogan. The chances they will back down are close to zero. A wiser Washington leadership would jump on the chance to hammer out a compromise and proclaim victory.