What is the actual purpose? Making money?
Or to subdue Turkey again and force it to go back to traditional “military dependency” relationship it had with the U.S.?
The news that the U.S. Secretary of Defense approved the sale of Patriot long-range air- missile defense systems to Turkey which is a deal worth 3,5 billion dollars brought these questions to minds.
This news also brings to mind the dialogue between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Trump in a phone call held in November 2017.
I had written about this before, but let me again remind you of what transpired;
During the call, President Erdoğan brought up the Syrian issue and asked his U.S. counterpart, “Mr. President, what about the weapons you gave to the PYD?”
Trump answers like a dumbstruck alien who freshly landed on planet Earth:
“What weapons? Do they get them for free? No way. I will order them to stop this right away!”
The money issue comes up once more during the call. This time Trump asks Erdoğan: “Please cancel this S-400 purchase.” Then, Erdoğan again brings up the Patriot missiles.
“Well, we urgently need an air defense system. Even though we wanted to fully pay for it, you did not want to sell us the Patriot missiles.”
The dialogue continues:
Trump: Did you want to purchase Patriot missiles?
Erdoğan: Of course…
Trump: I didn’t know this. I will relay this to McMaster (National Security Advisor at the time). He will do what is necessary.
Trump is only concerned about money, but the rest have other concerns
Reports of the sale of the Patriot Defense System to Turkey being approved again came to the fore 13 months after this phone call, when many problems arose and were solved since.
However, it is not possible to regard this issue as a done deal without taking into consideration Reuters’s explanation of events.
The agency wrote the following:
The notification process alerts Congress that a sale to a foreign country has been approved, but it does not indicate that a contract has been signed or negotiations have concluded.
Then, what should we infer from all of this? What does it say about the future?
As far as Trump is concerned, no one should be in any doubt that he is only interested in making money.
Even though he says to cancel the S-400 systems purchase, he is actually acting like a businessman.
But for those “around him,” or those who don’t see Turkish-American ties only from an “emotional” perspective, things are slightly different.
If we are to sum it up shortly:
The priority for them is not the sale of the Patriots, it is Ankara canceling the purchase of the S-400 missile system.
The issue, as it is stated nowadays once again, shouldn’t be about the concerns that the Russian-made defense missile system may negatively affect the NATO system.
Because Turkey has already guaranteed that the S-400 missiles “will be installed according to the friend-enemy definitions of NATO.”
Since Turkey gave this guarantee, the “concerned statements” from NATO stopped, and we already know that they started to say that purchasing these missiles is Turkey’s right.
Then there is only one possibility left.
The U.S. is actually worried that Turkey’s military dependency on it will decrease.
Pressures regarding the s-400s may increase
As it was also stated by Reuters, the sale has been approved, but there is no signed deal yet and we should look at this through the following lens:
The U.S. side probably stipulates that Turkey must cancel the S-400 purchase in exchange for signing the deal.
Well, in that case, what would Ankara do?
Actually, we don’t need to look much for answers. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s response to a question by CHP’s (People’s Republican Party) deputy Bayram Yılmazkaya asking, “Will the imbalance between the purchase of the S-400 missiles and the F-35 fighter jets project create problems for our country?” tells us all we need to know. Çavuşoğlu said:
“The purchase of the S-400 is to fulfill our country’s urgent and short-term security needs. We will take the necessary measures so that this system can be used independently and will not harm F-35 and NATO systems. We are continuing our contacts with U.S. authorities who are also sensitive about this issue.”
As a matter of fact, these words mean that Ankara says, “We can purchase both the S-400s and Patriot missiles.”
Of course, it is clear that Washington is not willing to compromise.
That is why, until the first batch of S-400 missiles are delivered to Turkey, which is scheduled for October 2019, it would not be wrong to expect the pressure on Ankara to increase.