US and its perpetual threats against Turkey
There is an image of so-called amities with messages like “we understand Turkey’s security concerns” and intentions of “increasing trade between the two countries.” But, on the other hand, there is the issue of “refusing to give up support to terrorist organizations,” “habits of holding meetings with the terror organizations at every level,” the obsession of “not wanting Turkey in the safe zone,” the impertinence of “always do as I say” threats and the quest to stir the arena.
While trivializing the withdrawal, the U.S. has now brought the case of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system in front of Turkey, with its habitual approach of “do what I say or sanctions are waiting.”
Let’s take a look at the developments of the past two weeks regarding the S-400 defense systems.
As we all know, the U.S. closely followed the Feb. 14 trilateral summit of Turkey, Russia and Iran. They knew that the most conspicuous topic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin would have been the issue of the S-400s sale. For this very reason, two days before the summit, U.S Vice President Mike Pence made a phone call to Erdoğan. The online London-based Middle East Eye reported some details of this meeting referring to two Turkish authorities. I, too, conferred with my sources. Pence, who called Ankara two days before the Erdoğan-Putin summit, overtly said that U.S. President Donald Trump wants the S-400 deal to be terminated. Erdoğan responded by saying that this deal was made after Turkey’s security needs were determined and that the deal is at a point of no return. In brief he said, “It’s done.”
Turkey has some criteria to purchase air defense systems. These include early delivery, joint production and technology transfer, costs and the issue of loans. In the meantime, Turkey and the U.S. also held talks on Patriot missiles. Turkey put forward its criteria, which it brought up in its talks with Russia, before the U.S. officials as well.
The criteria and the U.S.’s response to Turkey were also elaborated in the Erdoğan-Pence call. When Pence asked Turkey to shift towards Patriots, Erdoğan reminded him that the U.S. was able to fulfill only one criterion.
As for what I have learned, Americans are giving the green light to early delivery, but remain silent about other criteria. Hence, they are not up for a joint production, technology transfer and costs.
Turkey will purchase the S-400s in accordance with its needs, meaning that the deal is done. The delivery will be made in July 2019. The Turkish Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSB) is in contact with the U.S. officials in the meantime. Principally, Turkey’s demands are evident, thus, the U.S. officials need to take a step as part of these demands.
However, instead of this, the habits of posing threats and blackmails have emerged. Ankara was told that “sanctions will take place in the event of an S-400 purchase.” The U.S.’s sanction threat is based on the CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act) legislation the U.S. Congress ratified in 2017. It is said that as per the aforementioned deal, due to Turkey’s deals it conducted with Russia’s military industry, sanctions are on the agenda.
So how does Ankara look at this situation? Actually the approach is clear. Turkey will purchase the S-400s and will hold the door open to Patriots, in case the criteria are fulfilled. The possible sanction from the U.S. is also assessed. The sanctions are thought to be mainly towards the defense industry. However, Ankara finds U.S. threats “rather meaningful” such that these threats are being brought forward just before Turkey’s upcoming local elections on March 31.