The S-400 missile defense systems deal between Russia and Turkey has emerged as a very sensitive issue for the United States and NATO, according to political analyst Stanislav Khatuntsev.
Khatuntsev pointed out that there are several reasons why the US has been so concerned over the S-400 deal between Russia and Turkey.
"First of all, Washington expects that the delivery of the Russian missile defense system would result in the exclusion of Turkey from NATO’s defense perimeter. Possibly, if NATO decides to build an integrated missile defense system Turkey will not be a part of it. And this is a very sensitive moment," Khatuntsev told Radio Sputnik.
As a NATO member, Turkey has always been a force the US could rely on in the Middle East, and thus the White House expects loyalty from the Turkish leadership. However, according to the expert, the S-400 deal seems to indicate that Ankara is drifting away from Washington.
"It seems that the Americans didn’t believe that the deal was possible. At the same time, they thought that Turkey wouldn’t turn away from them. But the actual situation is different. Ankara has become much more independent from Washington," Khatuntsev said.
"This is also an important factor that should not be ignored. In fact, US defense companies are a losing a significant share in the global arms market," Khatuntsev concluded.
The Russia-Turkey talks on the delivery of S-400 systems started last year. On Tuesday, the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said in a statement that Moscow and Ankara had reached an agreement on the issue. In turn, Turkish President Erdogan said that Ankara had made the first payment for the delivery.
The system integrates multifunctional radar, autonomous detection and targeting systems, anti-aircraft missile systems, launchers and a command and control center.