Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia has recently become the most important issue between Ankara and Washington. Yet, an evaluation of the process, which brought Turkey to the point of buying the S-400s, as a whole, shows that this is the result of a more general problem in bilateral relations.
The U.S. is saying – in reference to Turkey’s purchase of this defense system – that its NATO membership should be restricting it. Yet there is no binding NATO decision with respect to its members developing their own defense systems or procuring them through other means. This was stated only last month by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg himself. Thus, the matter must be within the limits of relations with the U.S., not NATO membership. As a matter of fact, up until now, it has always been the U.S. that has failed to comply with its responsibilities arising from its NATO membership and has openly violated these responsibilities in one way or another.
NATO projects a joint sensitivity and defense cooperation, solidarity against threats that may target any member country. As for the U.S., it disproportionately armed (supposedly against the Daesh threat) the People’s Protection Units (YPG) – or the Democratic Union Party (PYD) – the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is officially recognized even in the U.S. as a terrorist organization, which has resulted in the death of 50,000 of its own citizens. The U.S. also established an army composing of these terrorists and positioned them on the Turkish border. Forget about supporting Turkey against this threat, it directly supported it. At the time it did this, Turkey was facing the attacks of the PKK terrorist organization, with civilians or soldiers being martyred daily.
The U.S., which of course did not buy al-Qaida first becoming al-Nusra in Syria, then turning into Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), considered it sufficient that the “PKK” name was altered to “YPG” on Syrian borders to remove it from the list of terrorist organizations and fool all.
Yet, the establishment of this organization on the Turkish border as a state is a threat to both Turkey as a NATO member, and the entire region. It unjustly divides Syria, and works as a mediator to the ethnic cleansing through the YPG. A journalist, who shared their observations from the YPG camps in Syria, said the people they came across there spoke not Arabic or Kurdish, but Turkish. The reason is obvious: almost the whole team that is leading the YPG consists of PKK terrorists that traveled there from Turkey.
The U.S. showed great reluctance o provide the weapons Turkey required to defend itself in the event of an attack, and refused to sell the Patriots missiles to Turkey a decade ago – during the term of former U.S. President Barack Obama. It gifted the weapons it would not sell to Turkey to the terrorist organization’s Syrian affiliate, the YPG, for free, in the form of 7,000 trucks and 2,000 air freighters, forming an open threat against Turkey.
The U.S. has long lost the position to remind Turkey the measures of loyalty to the conditions, ethics or rules of NATO membership. As a matter of fact, Turkey’s purchase of the S-400s is not in violation of NATO conditions either. The issue of compatibility with the F-35s or NATO systems is not an unsolvable problem. It can be worked on technically and settled. Turkey’s purchase of the S-400s is a lot cheaper in comparison to the Patriots, with greater advantage. Ankara is buying them under the condition that it can jointly produce and export the technology in the future. This is the advantage we could not obtain with any NATO country or the U.S.
Hence, the matter is a problem concerning limits in Turkey-U.S. ties rather than Turkey-NATO relations. The question here is why the U.S. objects to Turkey’s purchase of a system that will assist in its defense against the siege that surrounds it today, which is a real problem. Turkey is not buying weapons of attack; it is buying a defense system.
Why is the U.S. opposing Turkey’s self-defense? If it is not intending to attack Turkey itself one day, why is it opposing the purchase of the defense system? Does such opposition against Turkey’s purchase of the S-400s clearly reveal the U.S. intention to carry out an attack targeting Turkey one day or another?
Especially since it has revealed this intention, is it now not essential for Turkey to defend itself against the U.S., which has become a real threat?
Turkey’s right to obtain its own defense systems, while it is almost surrounded by numerous weapon systems, positioned in such a way to threaten Turkey at any moment, is indisputable. Striving to dissuade Turkey from this decision means nothing other than getting it to surrender to the gun pointed at it.
Of course, there is also the CAATSA aspect of it all. In other words, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which the U.S. Congress enacted in August 2017. It is stated that Turkey’s purchase of the S-400s from Russia is in violation of article 231 of CAATSA, and therefore sanctions need to be on the agenda. This article stipulates imposing sanctions aimed at individuals or institutions that buy-sell to and from Russian intelligence or defense industries, which are considered U.S. enemies.
Are you aware of the price Turkey is forced to pay for its alliance with the U.S.?
The U.S. sees Iran as its enemy, hence it considers any exchange with Iran also against itself in the scope of the sanctions it is imposing on the country. The U.S. sees Russia as its enemy, therefore it is trying to include the S-400 exchange within the scope of sanctions as a contribution to Russia’s industry, and once again is trying to make Turkey pay for these sanctions.
Turkey is forced to pay the price of U.S. sanctions, and its NATO ally, the U.S., is doing nothing in the slightest to pay this price. And when Turkey takes its own measures, the U.S. opposes. This is a slightly wider angle of the picture. What else might we see in the bigger picture?