Former Israeli envoy to Russia Zvi Magen has, in an interview with Russia’s Vzglyad newspaper, warned Moscow that it should be cautious in signing an agreement with Turkey regarding the sale of Su-35 fighter jets. He argued that Ankara can't be relied upon and could easily change sides whenever it sees fit.
"Turkey is a shady partner for Russia, because one day Turkish interests lie in one area and on another day - in a different one. Turkey is dancing at all the weddings and sitting on all the chairs simultaneously. Ankara is an active member of NATO and it won't abandon it anytime soon", he said.
Magen admitted that the jet sale would be profitable for Moscow, but that it shouldn't count on a full-fledged alliance due to it. At the same time, the former ambassador said that developing ties with Ankara would be beneficial for Moscow, as Turkey is important for the security of Russia's southern borders.
While Turkey has so far rejected Russia's offer to sell Su-35 jets to the country, recent media reports suggest that Turkish officials are still reviewing the possibility in light of Washington's decision to suspend Ankara's participation in the F-35 programme.
The US made the decision after Turkey refused to meet its demands to a drop deal on the acquisition of Russian S-400s, which Moscow started shipping in July 2019. Washington claimed that the S-400s could compromise the F-35's stealth capabilities and threatened Ankara with not only a suspension of F-35 deliveries, but also with sanctions and exclusion from NATO.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has nonetheless insisted on the purchase of the Russian systems, slamming US threats of sanctions. He argued that Moscow had made a more beneficial offer than Washington had with its Patriot systems.