Turkey will today conclude a four-day testing of its Russian-produced S-400 missile defence system near the Black Sea coast. Though
Turkey will today conclude a four-day testing of its Russian-produced S-400 missile defence system near the Black Sea coast.
Though Turkey purchased the S-400s from Russia in July 2019, it had delayed the system’s testing following backlash from the US, which is concerned that the system’s integration will provide Russia with access to valuable information on NATO’s defence system, particularly the F-35 fighter jets. Washington forced Ankara out of the F-35 program last July in retaliation and threatened sanctions.
Though Congress passed a bill in favour of sanctioning Turkey upon the deal’s finalisation, Trump’s special relationship with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sidelined the bi-partisan Congressional efforts.
Yet by testing the S-400 less than a month from the US’ presidential elections—and while facing looming EU sanctions over its activities in the Eastern Mediterranean—Turkey is playing with fire. If Trump loses his re-election bid, expect the US-Turkish relationship, which is currently hanging by a thread, to plummet, making sanctions very likely. Meanwhile, though Turkey’s relationship with Russia had been strengthening at the time of the S-400s purchase, the two countries’ policies in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh are increasingly at odds with each other, leaving Turkey in international isolation.
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