President Erdogan’s Foreign Ministry promised this week to install Russia’s S-400 missile systems as a “stand alone system” meaning they will not be integrated into NATO’s defence operations. This comes as a surprising concession by Turkey having been defiant in their acquisition of the weapons despite numerous warnings from the White House and even the threat of sanctions.
According to reports in Russian media, experts have suggested that Turkey is now conceding to some of the US’ demands due to fear of the relations between the two countries breaking down.
Director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Ruslan Pukhov, told Russian newspaper Kommersant: “After harsh rhetoric against the United States, the Turkish side is trying to demonstrate a willingness to compromise and prove the main argument of the United States and the Western allies is wrong.
“That, after being put on combat duty, the S-400 systems will supposedly create an opportunity for entering the NATO air defense system and for information leaks. The use of the S-400s as an autonomous system eliminates this possibility.”
This represents a rare victory for Mr Trump who has otherwise struggled to keep Turkey aligned with NATO’s objectives.
The Turkish military received two S-400 missile systems this year, sparking anger and fear from NATO allies as many believed the placement of the Russian weapon within the alliance’s borders would allow Moscow’s military to gather intelligence.
This included the threat of missile systems observing NATO’s F-35 fighter jet, as the aircraft fly over Turkish airspace and could therefore help Russia learn about its capabilities and weaknesses.
President Trump removed Turkey from the F-35 programme demanding that they return the weapons to Moscow in order to resume full cooperation.
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But Mr Macron defended his comments in what has now escalated into a seething debate between the two nations.
He said: “The questions I have asked are open questions, that we haven’t solved yet.
“Peace in Europe, the post-Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty situation, the relationship with Russia, the Turkey issue, who’s the enemy?
“So I say: as long as these questions are not resolved, let’s not negotiate about cost-sharing and burden-sharing, or this or the other.
So we maybe needed a wake-up call. I’m glad it was delivered, and I’m glad everyone now thinks we should rather think about our strategic goals.”