In this July 8, 2019, photo, acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper waits for the arrival of Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the Pentagon. The Pentagon says that Esper expects to be formally nominated for the top job very soon, setting off a complicated leadership replacement shuffle at top Army, Navy and senior Defense Department levels(AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Photo: AP
world

U.S. deciding how to punish ally Turkey over Russian arms deal

35 Comments
By ROBERT BURNS and MATTHEW LEE

The U.S. edged closer to crisis Friday with NATO ally Turkey, which began receiving components of a Russian-made air defense system in defiance of Trump administration warnings that the deal would mean economic sanctions and no access to America's most advanced fighter jet.

The Turkish Ministry of Defense announced it received the first shipment of the S-400 system, although it is not yet fully in place or ready for use. For months, Washington urged Turkey to buy the American-made Patriot air defense system instead and has insisted that buying from Russia would result in economic and military penalties. Turkey has said it was not offered favorable terms on the Patriot.

Among the U.S. penalties would be cutting Turkey out of the multi-national F-35 production program, depriving the Turks of the sophisticated stealth aircraft and the economic benefit of helping to build them.

The U.S. concern is that the S-400 could be used to gather data on the capabilities of the F-35, and that the information could end up in Russian hands. But more than technology is at stake. Turkey has long been a key to the defense of NATO's southeastern flank, and some believe its willingness to buy key weaponry from Russia — long identified as NATO's main adversary — suggests the possibility that its alliance status is in jeopardy.

President Donald Trump recently expressed sympathy toward Turkey's decision to complete the Russia deal, although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has been told that the S-400 is incompatible with NATO air defense systems and is seen by alliance officials as a threat to the F-35.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats alike expressed dismay at the Turks' move.

"By accepting delivery of the S-400 from Russia, President Erdogan has chosen a perilous partnership with Putin at the expense of Turkey's security, economic prosperity and the integrity of the NATO alliance," the top members of the Senate committees on Foreign Relations and Armed Services said in a joint statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has long complained that NATO is designed to target Russia. Some see the Russian sale as an attempt to drive a wedge between NATO allies.

In their joint statement, the Senate committee leaders also called the Turkish action "a troubling signal of strategic alignment with Putin's Russia" and a threat to the F-35 program.

Derek Chollet, a senior defense official in the Obama administration, said Turkey's decision to begin taking delivery of the S-400 was not a surprise.

"It is a major problem for NATO - at best it will limit Turkey's role in the alliance, and at worst things could spin out of control," Chollet said. "Because our shared interests are so compelling I believe Turkey's place in the alliance will endure, but this will do lasting harm - starting with no F-35s, U.S. sanctions, and broader intelligence concerns."

Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper said after Turkey's announcement that he was aware of the development and would discuss it later in the day with his counterpart, Hulusi Akar. The Pentagon and State Department did not immediately comment more directly on what actions the U.S. would take against Turkey.

U.S. officials have previously warned that sanctions would be imposed under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act if Turkey went ahead with the S-400 purchase. Sanctions would mark a new low in the already-tense relations between Turkey and the U.S. Last year the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey over its detention of an American pastor, triggering a Turkish currency crisis.

The prospect of a further rupture in Turkey's relations with Washington also raises a delicate issue rarely mentioned in public: the status of American nuclear weapons stored at Turkey's Incirlik air base. Turkey has had a nuclear role in NATO for decades, but this new split is likely to cause some in Washington to question the wisdom of keeping those nuclear bombs at Incirlik. Locations of U.S. nuclear weapons abroad are not publicly acknowledged by the U.S. as a matter of policy.

Turkey has refused to bow to U.S. pressure, insisting that choosing which defense equipment to purchase is a matter of national sovereignty.

There is a bipartisan consensus in Congress that Turkey should not be allowed to remain in the F-35 program if it refused to back out of the Russia deal.

Four senators — two Democrats and two Republicans — issued a joint statement Friday expressing disappointment that Turkey has chosen to buy a Russian-made system designed to "target and destroy" the F-35.

"Turkey is trying to play both sides, but we will not allow sensitive U.S. military technology in the F-35 to be at risk," the senators said. "Turkey cannot have both Russian and American defense equipment sitting side by side."

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

35 Comments
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Turkey obviously wants Russian technology (the S400) more than American technology (the F35).

US allies Saudi Arabia, India and Qatar and also going to make the same decision.

Go ahead, pile on the crybaby sanctions, everybody seems to be ignoring them anyway.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

America please impeach or vote out this cretin in the next election.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Another big foreign policy win for Trump. Having decimated morale at the State Department and pushed out multiple country experts to personally handle foreign policy, this deal between two of Trump’s anti-democratic patriarchal besties is yet another setback for America and its true allies.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

America please impeach or vote out this cretin in the next election.

Why is it Trump's fault that the US can't produce technology to compete the the Russians?

Trump's handling this admirably, trying to promote US interests but not letting things spiral out of control.

The US defence industry meanwhile, is in full-blown crybaby mode after not only losing out on the Turkey air defence bid but losing both a customer and a supplier for the the F35.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Another big foreign policy win for Trump. Having decimated morale at the State Department and pushed out multiple country experts to personally handle foreign policy, this deal between two of Trump’s anti-democratic patriarchal besties is yet another setback for America and its true allies.

Turkey is a true ally.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

By kicking them out of NATO, and returning Tsarigrad, mistakenly known as Istanbul, back to its rightful owner Bulgaria.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Yet another deal that Trump couldn't negotiate. He's useless on the world stage.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

More Trump winning got to love it..

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Turkey has the requisite to purchase the S-400

But the US also has the requisite not to sell the F-35 to them

So Turkey does not have the requisite to whine if they can't have both

1 ( +3 / -2 )

But the US also has the requisite not to sell the F-35 to them

Turkey and the US signed a contract and Turkey already paid a huge deposit.

Akin to signing a deal for a new Chevy and paying the down payment, but then Chevy says "We refuse to deliver your car because your other car is a Ford".

Turkey is a paying customer, they did nothing wrong.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Go ahead, pile on the crybaby sanctions, everybody seems to be ignoring them anyway.

Donny approves the sanctions. You know, the incompetent imbecile you constantly praise.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Turkey again. You know the U.S. government started the Cuban Missile Crisis by putting nukes in Turkey up in Russia's face. So Russia responded with nukes in Cuba up in in America's face. And the whole deal was resolved by the Kennedy brothers agreeing to take the nukes out of Turkey.

Episodes like that, which our press and history books backwardly paint as some glorious moment in American resolve and diplomacy, taught me not to trust what I am told by the government and press. Who knows why this is happening? Can we expect to even be told any of the truth? Maybe Turkey decided the Patriot system was garbage? It sure has a garbage name.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Turkey and the US signed a contract and Turkey already paid a huge deposit.

Akin to signing a deal for a new Chevy and paying the down payment, but then Chevy says "We refuse to deliver your car because your other car is a Ford".

Turkey is a paying customer, they did nothing wrong.

Wrong can also be in the eyes of the business owner - just as a shop can refuse business to a customer whom the shop later finds out is trying to undermine the shop's product.

The US is completing the training of the Turkey pilots that's already in the US, but nothing more beyond that. The F-35 planes aren't yet delivered to Turkey, so the transaction has not yet rendered (just as Amazon can cancel your preorder and return you any money owed, within the bounds of the law).

Similarly, Turkey can't stop the US simply returning any money received and canceling the delivery. Yes, it'll affect bilateral government relations, but who are they gonna sue in what court? NATO? The WTO? The UN?

This is not like a business-to-customer relations overseen by the government and the courts - this is government-to-government relations. Just as Russia has the wherewithal to cancel the S-400 delivery and returning Turkey's money if, say, Turkey shoots down another Russian plane and angers Russia. There's nothing Turkey can do to stop Russia or the US from withdrawing from the delivery.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Perhaps Turkey wanted out of the F-35 purchase and this was the easiest way to do it.

Glad I visited the Turkey already, though when the govt there tear gassed my group at lunch, it wasn't so nice.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Actually, the US has blame for this predicament too:

Turkey actually has been asking for the US Patriot System for years - but the Pentagon stalled all that time trying to decide whether to sell it to Turkey or not. One key issue is that Turkey wanted a technology-sharing pact along with the purchase.

After awhile, Turkey couldn't wait no longer, and they got that technology-sharing pact demand from Russia with the S-400 purchase.

So here we are. Still doesn't mean Turkey can stop the US from withdrawing from the F-35 delivery and returning their money.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Trump knows it will not be accepted has an EU country and probably cares less about the NATO agreement.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Trump just wants to sell weapons to Turkey, Saudi.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

"By accepting delivery of the S-400 from Russia, President Erdogan has chosen a perilous partnership with Putin at the expense of Turkey's security, 

I dunno about that. The S-400s are pretty darn good at securing an airspace.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

IloveCoffeeToday 07:43 am JST

By kicking them out of NATO, and returning Tsarigrad, mistakenly known as Istanbul, back to its rightful owner Bulgaria.

You can't beat a good laugh to start the day! Have a nice weekend.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Turkey is a true ally.

actually it should read America is a true ally!?

How is it that Russia is prepared to offer a better deal on weapons than their so called ally America . Yes the S400 is an excellent missile system, good enough that America planes wont fly anywhere near where theyre deployed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Use the standard US foreign policy: sanctions and then invade and topple government.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The rule of NATO is to use the same agreed weapons, which all the troops train with, and know how to use, regardless of whichever NATO they are operating in. The NATO troops have no training with the Russian missiles.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

zichi: NATO is only there to protect the US and to benefit the US arms industry.

The US wants to pull out of NATO but still wants NATO alliance to purchase US weapons to prop up the US economy. India is also considering purchasing from Russia rather than the US and, again, the US is threatening sanction.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

NATO and the EU have kept peace in Europe for 70 years.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

zichi: "NATO and the EU have kept peace in Europe for 70 years."

Really, have you forgotten: Balkans, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia? and what about the Middle East, Africa, Asia?

The US has used NATO for its own military advancement, to advance its imperialism.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

rlperez@hotmail.com.au

Really, have you forgotten: Balkans, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia? and what about the Middle East, Africa, Asia?

The US has used NATO for its own military advancement, to advance its imperialism.

None of those countries were members of NATO or the EU, false claims. NATO went to the aid of Bosnia/Kosovo/Serbia. They also held war crime trials in the Hague, the guilty were punished.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Are they mad because only Taiwan is buying from the US?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So much for economic freedom.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

None of those countries were members of NATO or the EU, false claims. NATO went to the aid of Bosnia/Kosovo/Serbia

NATO planes bombed Yugoslavia / Serbia, then NATO robbed Serbia of its integral part - the province of Kosovo,

And don't forget about the NATO aggression against Libya. It's not Europe, nethetheless it demonstrates the true colors of this criminal organization.

>

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Asakaze

we know Putin/Russians fear NATO. Russian shooting down of civilian airline in Ukraine. Nerve agent UK attack. Ukraine Ataka. Crimea.

interference in American elections.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

we know Putin/Russians fear NATO

They do not fear, but they are concerned. Everybody should be concerned when dealing with a criminal gang that invades other countries (Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya), occupies parts of other countries (Kosovo), stages coups d'etat (Ukraine), covers crimes of their clients (shooting down of MH17 by Ukrainian regime forces), provides for terrorists (Syria), stages false flag provocations (Novichok fiasco), interferes in internal affairs of other countries. And yes, at least one NATO member state (Latvia) is governed by open Nazi symphatizers, they even hold annually a parade in memory of locally raised Waffen-SS units. D-Day soldiers are spinning in their graves.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Putin's two biggest fears are NATO and traitors like the ex Russian spy he poisoned with Novichok in the UK.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Making the best weapons, and selling them cheaply to people who will annoy our enemies... This is the deep principle that we have always followed. Somebody didn’t quite get the message.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Putin's two biggest fears are NATO and traitors like the ex Russian spy he poisoned with Novichok in the UK

Obviously you did not read my previous post carefully. Putin's biggest concern is not NATO itself but stupidity of NATO leaders who tend to start wars first and regret these wars second.

And it would be nice if the UK government presents the evidence of the Novichok attack. I mean real, hard evidence, not the usual official blah-blah. Show medical records, results of chemical analysis, show Skripal and his daughter. The truth about Novichok, not even Brexit, is Theresa Mayday-Mayday's biggest fear.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If Turkey wants to purchase weapons from other countries, why should USA get angry. If USA wants to export all countries, all and everything, what is the need for other countries to earn, work, live and grow?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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