Is Russia powerful enough to punish Turkey?

Russian missiles arrived - "Erdogan pays a high price"

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The first delivery of the Russian S-400 missile defense system has reached Turkey. Now the country has to expect tough US sanctions.

Russia has started delivering the S-400 missile defense system to Turkey. The billion-dollar arms deal between Russia and NATO member Turkey arouses the wrath of the military alliance - especially that of the USA.

According to the diplomatic correspondent for Radio SRF, Fredy Gsteiger, the deal will have serious consequences for Turkey.

Fredy Gsteiger

Diplomatic Correspondent, SRF

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The diplomatic correspondent is deputy editor-in-chief at Radio SRF. Before working on the radio, he was an international editor at «St. Galler Tagblatt ”, Middle East editor and Paris correspondent for“ Zeit ”and editor-in-chief of“ Weltwoche ”.

SRF-News: Why is Turkey buying anti-aircraft missiles in Russia?

Fredy Gsteiger: Out of annoyance and out of defiance. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been angry since the EU made it clear to Ankara that Turkey would still have to wait a long time to join. Turkey's relationship with the West is tense - also because of Western criticism of the authoritarian features of the Turkish government.

In the long term, Russia and Turkey are more likely to be rivals than partners.

Erdogan has therefore been looking for an alternative to Turkey's orientation towards the West for some time. In the military field, that is Russia. This now includes this missile purchase. However, it is questionable whether Russia and Turkey are good partners in the long term. In the Black Sea, in Syria in Central Asia, there are major differences between Moscow and Ankara. In the long term, the two countries are therefore more likely to be rivals than partners.

The missile deal annoys NATO, but above all the US. What are the reasons?

US President Donald Trump is always concerned with the US defense industry - after all, the missile defense business with Russia is about 2.5 billion dollars. But the problem of cooperation among the NATO states is more important. If Turkey acquires a defense system that is incompatible with the partners' systems, it will be much more difficult or impossible to conduct joint operations.

NATO fears that Russia could spy on them.

What is even more important, however, is that modern, high-tech weapon systems are networked and that Russia could gain insight into NATO systems through the missile defense system. So NATO fears that Moscow could spy on its systems in this way.

Will the US just accept Turkey's purchase of the system?

The USA has threatened concrete punitive measures. Erdogan hopes that Trump will do without it, but that is unlikely. Both the Pentagon and the US Parliament are of the opinion that sanctions against Turkey are necessary.

Turkey is paying a heavy price to buy Russian missiles.

The delivery of F-35 fighter planes to Turkey and the training of Turkish pilots for these jets have already been stopped. Presumably, Turkey will be completely thrown out of the cooperation to build the F-35. Sanctions in the financial and visa area are also conceivable. One thing is certain: Turkey and its president are paying a high price to buy the Russian S-400 system.

What does that mean for the relationship between NATO and Turkey?

The distrust between NATO and Ankara is tense anyway, and Turkey is seen as a very difficult partner. Both sides are still convinced that Turkish membership is still beneficial for both sides. But in the long term it is less and less certain that Turkey will be oriented towards the West and thus remain a member of NATO.

Interview conducted by Nicoletta Cimmino.

srf / snep; horm

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  • Comment from kurt trionfini (kt)
    The Americans supply the Saudis. The Russians supply the Turks. The deal-makers Trump and Putin can do it well with their kind: totalitarian-oriented power holders.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Peter Mueller (Elbrus)
    President Erdogen ordered the Patriot variant from President Obama and Raytheon in 2013. Rejection to Erdogan. After this rejection, Turkey reorganized and added the far more powerful Russian S-400 to the catalog. After the assassination attempt on Erdogan, this variant was concluded with the Russian military and President Putin. The NATO troublemakers brought it on themselves. President Trump also sees this as he has carefully studied the Turkish documents.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Ueli von Känel (uvk)
    Erdogan is angry because the West has expressed that Turkey's path to the EU is still very long. -Of course, Erdogan has no business in the EU. The stupid thing is that the people in particular have to "pay for" their unfortunate policies (unfortunately they voted for him). I hope that nothing will come of it to Russia in the future; Putin is not a good reference. That leads me to another question: Which of the great power rulers is a good reference anyway? I don't know any !!
    Agree agree to the comment

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