Turkey-US standoff over the S-400 - Hilal Kaplan

Turkey-US standoff over the S-400 - Hilal Kaplan

Earlier this week, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the Commander of US European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe told Congress that if Turkey proceeds with their purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system, he would recommend the US not to follow through with the sale of the F-35s.

"If they accept the S-400 and to establish it in Turkey, there is first of all the issue of that it's not interoperable with NATO's systems, nor is it interoperable inside of our air-missile defense system", he added.

Asked about comments made earlier this week by America's top general in Europe, acting press secretary Charlie Summers said "If turkey takes the S-400, there would be grave effect in terms of our military relationship, and the Patriots and the F-35s", Summers said.

Since then President Erdoğan has repeatedly said Ankara will go ahead with the S-400 purchase.

The comments come as part of this week's back-and-forth between Ankara and Washington on the issue.

Mr Erdogan would do well to heed the warning, as well as the possibility of United States sanctions. The move portends future conflict in a warzone that, following the defeat of the Islamic State group's so-called caliphate, many experts fear will deteriorate into a battlefield among the many warring parties operating there that no longer have a common enemy in the extremist network.

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As a result of the planned S-400 procurement, the Pentagon launched a large study into whether it would be possible to remove Turkey from the F-35 industrial base.

The United States had agreed to sell 100 of its latest, fifth-generation F-35 fighters to Turkey, but has so far delivered only two of the aircraft.

In a speech in Munich last month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence declared that the Trump administration has "made it clear that we will not stand idly by while North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies purchase weapons from our adversaries". He has previously criticized Ankara for not doing more in the fight against the Islamic State group, and was particularly vocal about Turkey's detention of an American pastor released last year. Turkey's plan to buy the S-400 from Russian Federation may make this hard. No positive development has occurred up to this point and Erdoğan stated once again on Wednesday that the S-400 deal is done and there is no going back.

Russian Federation has utilised the S-400 system in its military operations in Syria.

Erdogan added that first delivery of the S-400 would be made in July.

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