Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with Bloomberg that if Western countries are not ready to sell air defense systems, Ankara will continue to buy them from other states.

“If you don’t want me to buy them (air defense systems. -


) somewhere else, then sell them to me yourself.

Otherwise, we will continue to purchase from others.

Today it could be the S-400.

Tomorrow is a different system.

This does not change the essence, ”Cavusoglu said.

According to the Turkish Foreign Minister, Western states refuse to supply air defense systems because of Ankara's decision to acquire several divisions of Russian Triumph air defense systems.

At the same time, as Cavusoglu said, within the framework of the ongoing modernization, the need for the Turkish Armed Forces is not limited only to the S-400. 

In an interview with RT, military expert Yuri Lyamin saw in the statement of the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry a hint of the possibility of acquiring air defense systems of various ranges abroad.

At the same time, according to him, the most suitable military-technical partner for Ankara is Russia, given the difficult situation in relations with the West.

“As far as I understand, the Turks asked to transfer certain technologies with the sale of the American Patriot air defense system.

The United States did not show much desire.

In this regard, Turkey began consultations with other countries and, as a result, considered the most modern and powerful Russian S-400s.

In principle, this is how it is: according to the characteristics of the S-400, it is perhaps the best long-range air defense system in the world, ”Lyamin explained.

According to the expert, Ankara is striving for a radical upgrade of the national air defense system, which today includes mostly outdated complexes, including those of American production.

The Turkish industry has demonstrated some successes in creating medium and shorter-range air defense systems, but failed to develop a system similar to the Patriot and the S-400.

“In the opinion of Russian and foreign analysts, the S-400, due to the combination of different properties, is the best long-range system available on the global market.

Naturally, many countries are interested in it, and Turkey is no exception, ”Lyamin explained.

"Triumphal" contracts

In September 2019, speaking at the XIV International Strategic Forum in the Slovenian city of Bled, Cavusoglu said that Turkey could conclude a new contract with the Russian Federation for the supply of an additional batch of Triumph, if it fails to agree with the United States on the acquisition of Patriot.

In mid-March 2020, the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Dmitry Shugaev announced that "in the foreseeable future" Moscow and Ankara intend to sign the second contract for the sale of the S-400 regimental set.

On August 23, 2020, the general director of Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheev, said that Russia and Turkey had signed a deal to acquire an additional batch of Triumphs.

The details of the agreement were not disclosed, but, as the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said earlier, the delivery of air defense systems will be carried out in a short time.

Recall that the first contract for the S-400 was signed in April 2017 and finally implemented in the fall of 2019.

The cost of the four air defense missile systems manufactured for the Turkish Armed Forces amounted to $ 2.5 billion. Ankara undertook to pay 45% of this amount in advance, the remaining 55% are Russian loans. 

It is possible that the second contract involves the joint production of S-400 elements.

Shortly before the signing of the deal, Dmitry Shugaev spoke about the likelihood of bilateral "technological cooperation" on the air of the Turkish Ekoturk TV channel. 

“Obviously, this format of cooperation presupposes a certain new stage of interaction - a more complex, trusting one, in which it is important to find a balance of respect for our interests,” Shugaev said.

In an interview with RT, the director of the Center for the Study of a New Turkey, Yuri Mavashev, said that Moscow and Ankara have great prospects in terms of military-technical cooperation, including “through the supply of S-400 Triumph air defense missile systems.

At the same time, as the expert noted, relations between Turkey and the West in the field of military-technical cooperation are experiencing significant difficulties.

“The EU and the United States have made a decision to refuse to export certain types of weapons to Turkey.

The most sensitive issue for Ankara was the refusal to supply American F-35 multipurpose fighters, considered to be the fifth generation fighters, as well as the Patriot air defense complex, ”Mavashev explained.

In a commentary on RT, Pavel Feldman, deputy director of the RUDN Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts, noted that Washington's behavior in the field of military-technical cooperation has exacerbated the already serious American-Turkish military-political differences. 

“Washington does not trust Turkey, and the refusal to supply American fighters is directly related to this.

America has made it clear that if Ankara continues to buy Russian air defense systems, it will not see American fighters.

Large-scale contractual obligations that are sensitive for the Turkish defense industry have been disrupted.

Naturally, this also added tension to bilateral relations, ”Feldman explained.

  • Unloading of S-400 elements at an airbase in Turkey

  • AFP

  • © Turkish Defense Ministry

Washington argued this policy precisely with the purchase of the S-400.

From the point of view of the United States, Turkey, as a NATO member country, violated the ban on the purchase of military products in the Russian Federation.

At the same time, Washington noted that they are ready to sell Patriot to Ankara if it returns Moscow the Triumphs bought from it.

In order to resolve the situation at the end of June 2020, Republican Senator John Thune even proposed to the Senate to adopt an amendment to the legislation that would allow the United States to buy the supplied air defense systems from Turkey.

However, Moscow ruled out such a possibility, referring to the terms of the contract, and Ankara promised to "protect" the acquired air defense systems.

As a result, in mid-July, a group of American lawmakers submitted to Congress a bill on sanctions against Turkey over the purchase of the S-400.

The authors of the document said that Ankara "continues to make dubious decisions that do not reflect the leadership qualities of a NATO member country."

In addition, the parliamentarians believe that the supply of Triumphs threatens US security.

Aggravated relationship

As experts noted, another factor destroying allied relations between Ankara and Washington was the partial lifting of the arms embargo to Cyprus.

In announcing this, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named Nicosia a key partner in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Despite the fact that the lifting of the embargo applies only to non-lethal weapons, the decision of the Americans caused outrage in Ankara.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Cavusoglu said that the type of military equipment that can be supplied to Cyprus from the United States does not matter.

According to the Turkish Foreign Minister, Washington's actions undermine the balance of power on the island and do not contribute to the settlement of the situation.

Pavel Feldman explains the partial lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus by Washington's response to Ankara's foreign policy, which is impermissible from the American point of view.

“Although Turkey is a NATO country, it has a serious conflict with Greece, including over Cyprus.

Moreover, the relationship between them is only getting worse.

In general, Washington and Brussels cannot but irritate Ankara's markedly independent political vector, ”Feldman explained.

Yuri Mavashev also believes that the West is unhappy with Turkey's "liberties" in the international arena.

The US and the EU expect that in the future, in the place of the current president of the country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, there will be “a more accommodating politician,” the expert believes.

“As of today, while maintaining power in the hands of Erdogan, there is not a single scenario, opportunity or option under which the West could soften its policy in the field of military-technical cooperation with Ankara.

There are fundamental contradictions between Turkey and the West that have no chance of being resolved in the foreseeable future.

Actually, Ankara is not expecting this, ”Mavashev summed up.