Turkey and US head to new crisis over Ankara’s S-400 purchase
Turkey’s recent decision to follow through with its planned purchase of Russian S-400 missile-defense systems despite US warnings has severely strained relations between the two countries and analysts believe that it may lead Washington to reconsider whether Turkey should remain part of NATO.
The US government strongly discouraged Turkey from buying weapons systems from Russia, stating that Turkey would then no longer be able to purchase US F-35 fighter jets. But Turkey’s authoritarian president Erdogan refused to back down, stating recently that “[t]here is no point in discussing this anymore because we have concluded the deal with Mr. Putin and Russia,” and that “[i]f we make an agreement, we stand by it.” In February, US Vice President Mike Pence warned that the US would not “stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries.”
Experts believe that by refusing to change course, Erdogan is putting Turkey’s military alliance with the US and Europe at risk without having a realistic alternative to fall back on, because Russia is not likely to be interested in forming a NATO-like alliance with Turkey.