Robert Harneis –TDO- (FRANCE) -According to Defense Industry Daily? Turkey has reaffirmed its commitment to buying the S-400 Triumf air defense system from Russia despite threats of sanctions from Western allies if the sale was to continue.
The news comes as the US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Tina Kaidanow, who heads the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the State Department, was in Ankara to attend the 5th gathering of Turkey—US Defense Trade Dialogue, following a 2-year hiatus, where the US delegation had offered to sell Turkey the Patriot missile system as an alternative to the S-400. Previous negotiations over Patriots have stalled over issues such as the price and technology transfer.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, however, said last week that Turkish efforts to buy the Patriot system would continue, but added, “These are not an alternative to the S-400. Turkey has already made its S-400 decision." This sentiment was echoed by Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan at a press conference in Ankara on Tuesday, who said that his government could cooperate with Russia on defense projects besides the S-400 missile defense system, without giving any further details. Russian media quoted President Vladimir Putin as saying the S-400 deal was a priority in military cooperation between Moscow and Ankara.
In October 2017 the United States directly threatened the Turkish government. The State Department issued a list of more than three dozen off-limits Russian companies and warned businesses and nations worldwide that those doing business with the Russian firms could face U.S. sanctions. The list of Russian firms includes missile manufacturer Almaz-Antey, maker of the S-400.
The US can threaten all it likes but strategically placed Turkey is now enjoying the new luxury of playing off two great powers against each other since the dramatic return of Russia to the international stage in Syria. The dilemma for the Americans is that the more they threaten, the more they push the Turkish government into the Russian camp and beyond Russia China. The usual option of a coup is looking increasingly unlikely as President Erdogan has taken drastic steps to protect his power base since the last effort to unseat him on July 16th 2016.