Turkey rejects armament of S-400 missiles delivered by Russia

Russian S-400 missiles purchased by Turkey upon arrival in Ankara on August 27, 2019. Handout / TURKISH DEFENSE MINISTRY / AFP

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The Russian S-400 missiles delivered to Turkey will not be activated for several months - when their weapons were scheduled for April 30 at the latest - officially due to the epidemic. Turkey also has and may especially need to spare Washington for foreign policy reasons, but also for its economy.


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This week the Turkish Central Bank lowered its key rate for the 8th time, a sign among others of a troubled economy. With the global recession threatening Turkey like the others, this is not the time for Ankara to risk economic sanctions for having armed the S-400s. 

Second reason not to get angry with Washington: the Turkish economy would need a breath of fresh air and Ankara is thinking of a discreet boost from the American Federal Bank via a currency exchange. 

There is also the Syrian case, major for Ankara. Stagnation of the conflict, too many soldiers killed, the Turkish military intervention no longer has the support of public opinion ... The opportunity would be too good for the opposition to press to demand that these armed missiles be deployed in support to Turkish forces on the border with Syria. Something to get into trouble with Moscow. By not arming these missiles, Erdogan mostly gave himself time, not to upset either Russia or the United States. 

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  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • United States
  • Diplomacy

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