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Turkey challenges NATO to test S-400 anti-aircraft weapons

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Turkey has tested an advanced Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile defense system, in defiance of threats of US sanctions and calls from NATO not to compromise transatlantic security cooperation.

For Russia, of course, this is a big victory, said former Turkish lawmaker Aykan Erdemir, senior analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. There is no doubt that this will continue to disrupt NATO, as not only the United States but other NATO members will now have to focus on resolving the mess within the transatlantic alliance.

President Trump kicked Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jets program to protect the advanced warplane from Russian espionage following the arms purchase, but federal law passed in The result of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election requires the imposition of sanctions against any client who makes a material transaction with the Russian defense industry. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo anticipated this punishment by urging Ankara not to use the anti-aircraft system, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flouted this compromise.

It is obviously a gesture of independence from Western constraints, Greek lawmaker Dimitrios Kairidis told the Washington Examiner during a recent discussion on tensions within NATO and the Erdogans were planning the use of Russian weapons. He’s sending a message to Washington again that he’s independent in mind and will do whatever he wants. And that gives Putin some satisfaction.

Russian state media have claimed quick access to information about the test. “Three missiles of the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system were launched, TASS a source in military and diplomatic circles said on Friday. All succeeded in hitting the designated targets.

Turkey has tested the S-400 even while intervening on behalf of Azerbaijan in a violent border conflict with Armenia, which hosts Russian military bases in Russia’s backyard, as Kairidis said, increasing the likelihood that the test will be part of an effort to manage Erdogans relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The S-400 is one of the chips it uses vis-à-vis Moscow, the Greek lawmaker said. So far, Russia has been very sensitive to this kind of foreign intrusion, and there’s something there that we don’t know that’s missing … maybe the activation of the S-400 does. part of the larger negotiation that is underway, that is for sure. , between Moscow.

This assessment gives Erdogan too much credit for his strategic independence from the Kremlin, according to Erdemir.

It could have to do with the appeasement of Russia, said FDD analyst and Erdogan critic. When Erdogan crosses paths with Putin in this way, he makes amends by appeasing him with a policy to the liking of the Kremlin.

On the other hand, Turkey conducted the test alongside the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who relies on NATO and its Western allies for assistance against the Russian annexation of Crimea and the invasion of the United States. eastern Ukraine.

We have and always will support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including over Crimea, “Erdogan said on Friday.” Turkey regards Ukraine as a key country for ensuring stability, security, peace and prosperity in our region. “

The timing of this statement, prominently displayed in Turkey’s pro-government English-language media outlet, may reflect an attempt to tone down any Western backlash.

“Maybe it’s more of an attitude towards the West as Erdogan claims to send a signal to Putin, who is holding Erdogan on a short leash and doesn’t care,” Erdemir said.

Yet such a demonstration of the S-400 angered US lawmakers, especially following reports that Turkey used Russian radars to track Greek F-16 fighter jets following recent aerial exercises conducted. by a handful of NATO members frustrated by Erdogans’ belligerent foreign policy. .

Turkey continues to test its Russian S-400 missile system Senator James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma, tweeted this week. NATO allies should behave like allies and be held accountable when they do not. Sanctions for S-400 purchases should be implemented as reports continue to surface on active use of turkeys with no intention of changing course.



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