Turkey Should Not Budge In on US Demands in S-400 Row, Ex-General Says
The purchase of S-400 air defense systems from Russia prompted a major crisis in US-Turkish relations. Washington froze the transfer of F-35 jets that Ankara had paid for earlier under the pretext that the Russian system could expose the jet's weaknesses to Moscow.
The Turkish Ministry of Defence has announced that a new round of talks will be held with the US regarding the purchase of F-35s, which was blocked by the US due to the sides failing to come to an agreement after the last time they discussed the issue.
While the two countries stressed their readiness to continue their dialogue, it does not mean that Turkey should budge with respect to Washington's main demand – to ditch the Russian S-400 systems that stand at the centre of the row, retired Turkish Brigadier-General, Naim Babüroğlu, says.
27 October 2021, 21:45 GMT
He believes that the US will not agree to hold another round of talks if it does not sense some kind of "profit" for itself. And their main goal in relations with Ankara is to prevent it from using the S-400 air defence systems it bought from Russia against Washington's wishes, Babüroğlu notes.
In his opinion, "absolutely no country" should willingly refuse using a $2.5 billion dollar air defence system just at the "US whim". On the contrary
– Turkey must deploy it, as it was acquired to address existing threats and challenges, he says. However, at the same time, Babüroğlu fears that Ankara might act differently.
"However, there is a danger that Turkey will follow the path of meeting the US' demands. It would be an erroneous step. Ankara should have foreseen the likelihood of US imposing sanctions from the very beginning, when it was purchasing this system [from Russia]."
Turkey's decision to buy the S-400 systems from Russia
prompted strong protests in the US, which threatened to cut shipments of the F-35 jets that Ankara both ordered and paid for. After Turkey refused to ditch the deal with Russia, citing its sovereign right to buy defensive systems for its own needs, Washington froze the fifth-generation stealth jet's shipments and training programmes. Since then, Ankara has unsuccessfully been trying to cut a deal with Washington to get the jets and keep the S-400s.
However, the US insists that the S-400 poses a threat to its new jet, claiming it allegedly could reveal its weaknesses to Moscow. The Kremlin and Ankara have both strongly rejected such a possibility.