The US-Turkey relations are entering a new phase of tension as the latter receives deliveries of the Russian S-400 air defense system. The administration of President Donald Trump has announced that it will impose harsh sanctions on Ankara for its military rapprochement with a rival and strategic rival of Washington, In the advanced F-35 aircraft program.

In an attempt to reduce Americans' concerns about Turkey's takeover of the Russian defense system, a number of Turkish officials said that the deal was aimed at providing a new air and missile defense system to the multiplicity of security risks in the Middle East that affect Turkey's national security. For any American concern.

Karim Has, a political scholar specializing in Asia and Eurasia, in a study entitled Turkey, Russia and the S-400 looming crisis published by the Middle East Institute on July 10, tries to explain why Ankara possesses military capability The size of the S-400 is historically historical, and Turkey is likely to face further international repercussions in its future geopolitical direction as a result of that action.

Convergence and sanctions

In the aftermath of the crisis between Turkey and Russia in November 2015, when the first dropped a fighter plane for the second near its border with Syria, the two countries became closer together starting June 2016. The bilateral relations entered a new phase, Syrian crisis, agenda. Complex regional problems (such as terrorism, the Kurdish issue, the fragile state of Iraq, Iran's growing role in the region, etc.) have become important factors in the multi-dimensional relations between Ankara and Moscow.

The security and defense sectors have emerged as key areas for bilateral cooperation, as demonstrated by their ability to manage their differences in previous issues and in negotiating the S-400 defense system in the fall of 2016, estimated at $ 5.2 billion.

When the agreement was signed between the two countries on the purchase of the Russian S-400 system, the American response accelerated, as the United States began to pressure its strategic ally in the region and a member of NATO to back down from buying the Russian system. Washington has insisted on suspending Turkish companies' involvement in the F-35 fighter jet, a multi-billion dollar loss. The Pentagon has also threatened to ban sales to Ankara, although more than 100 of the same model were planned for the next few years.

On the other hand, the US Congress threatened Turkey to impose additional economic sanctions, according to the law "fight the enemies of America through sanctions" (CAATSA) of 2017, a move that would damage the defense industry and the Turkish banking sector.

Conflict of interest

The researcher believes that Turkey's acquisition of the defense system (S400) is contrary to its own interests and will have three main consequences that would affect its geopolitical orientation:

First, the S-400 system is not compatible with NATO's weapons and radar systems located inside Turkey. That is a fact recognized by Turkish officials. Karim said that Moscow refused Ankara's request to access the electronic codes and internal data of the defense system, which means that the system of identification of friends or enemy will most likely show all aircraft in Turkish airspace as things not known except for private Turkish aircraft.

In that sense, Karim said, it would limit its ability to eliminate potential external threats, increasing the risk that mistaken identification of aircraft would lead to military conflict. He adds that there is no doubt that the S-400 will not deal with potential threats from Russia and its allies in the region, such as Armenia, Syria and Iran.

Karim said that despite Turkey's offer to the United States to set up a joint working group to remove its concerns about the potential risks posed by the Russian defense system to the US F-35, it would not make Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or anyone else immune from military intervention American conflict.

The study considers that the new defense system will not contribute to the development of the Turkish defense industry and may leave it in a worse position. Russia has repeatedly stated that the S-400 does not provide for the transfer of biotechnology to Ankara, Turkish justification for negotiations with Moscow in the beginning.

Turkey's criticisms of the Patriot missile defense system, and its preference for the S-400 instead, are not based on the transfer of technology and co-production, Ankara claimed. Which he sees as a double standard in assessing US and Russian offers.

Karim explains that the first beneficiary of the deal is Russia, which deliberately completed the deal to create a sharp dispute between Turkey and NATO, as Moscow's sale of missiles to a member state of NATO, and a player in the Middle East, Is a major victory for Russia's strategy and contributes to Moscow's international standing and powers in the region, which has been a US area of ​​influence for decades.

National sovereignty or the necessities of reality?

Karim believes that the S-400 is not a matter of national sovereignty, as many Turkish officials claim. It is merely a practical option without any rational strategic basis.

The researcher considered that the purchase of Turkey system (S 400) paves the way for an unlikely scenario, as the "technical support" of the Russian army may become a permanent military presence on the territory of Turkey. Ankara's increasing reliance on Moscow will hamper its pursuit of interests in areas as diverse as the Caucasus, Crimea, the Black Sea, the Balkans, the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean.

Strategic versus personal interests

In his study, Karim tried to find a precise explanation of why Turkey had planned to acquire the S-400. This has been attributed to a number of factors, including the crisis of governance from the protests of the Gizi Park in 2013 to the municipal elections held in Istanbul in June. In addition to the huge financial crisis faced by the government, the threats of terrorist organizations located on the territory of Syria, and the Kurdish problem.

Therefore, the researcher considers that the S-400 is a form of "political bribery," or as an advance to secure Russian support if Erdogan faces a challenge to his rule similar to what happened in Venezuela or Syria, Caused further deterioration in the Turkish economy, and protests in the street accelerated.

In conclusion, the researcher finds it very difficult for the Turkish government to withdraw from the S-400 deal for several reasons. First, it has not received guarantees from the United States and its Western partners to ensure their long-term political survival. Second, the current Turkish leadership can not expect Russia's reaction if the deal collapses. Thirdly, the various nationalist and pro-Erdogan factions, and others within the ruling elite at the moment, have different interests than the signing of the deal, and thus the possible abolition may trigger an internal power struggle.

The S-400 is not a matter of national sovereignty, as many Turkish officials claim, and is merely a practical option without any rational strategic basis.

In the wake of the crisis between Turkey and Russia in November 2015, when the first dropped a fighter plane for the second near its border with Syria, a rapprochement between the two countries began in June 2016. The bilateral relations entered a new phase, schedule of work.