Ankara confirms arms deal with Moscow

Erdoğan has announced that Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 air defence systems is complete. "It's a done deal," he said on Wednesday. New friction between Turkey and Washington is now inevitable - also because the US now wants to exclude Turkey from the F-35 fighter programme. How dangerous are the tensions between the two Nato partners?

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Milliyet (TR) /

US doesn't want Turkey to be independent

The US has left Turkey with no other alternative, Milliyet concludes, pointing out that Ankara initially wanted to buy the US Patriot system:

“But it took Washington 17 months to respond to the application! ... For the US this is not just about us buying the defence system from Russia anyway. Its main problem is that we have attained such power in the region independently of the United States. Why did Washington keep Turkey dangling for so long while it sold Patriots to Saudi Arabia? Ankara is certainly aware of this. So it didn't want a defence system that is dependent on the West. It wanted to put itself on a more solid footing in view of the worsening crisis in relations with the US. In our increasingly multipolar world Turkey needs to expand its defence resources anyway.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

A military disaster

Ankara is creating big problems for its Nato partners, De Telegraaf warns:

“The purchase of the S-400 shows how Turkey, weary of all the 'moaning' about human rights and democracy, is moving further and further away from the West's sphere of influence. You don't have that kind of problem when you do business with Putin. ... This decision by a Nato member is also disastrous from a military point of view. Air defence is a combination of missiles, manned fighter jets and radars. A foreign object would cause a potentially fatal delay, provided it can be integrated into the defence system at all. And worse still: it's not entirely out of the question that Russians will be able to spy on Nato's defence system using the S-400.”

Zeit Online (DE) /

Erdoğan's double strategy

Can Turkey be allowed to remain a member under these circumstances? Zeit Online asks:

“The Nato collective has no procedure for expelling unwanted members. Ankara would have to leave of its own free will. But there's no sign of that happening. It's possible that Turkey will become a member without any value, a non-active member. But it's also possible that Erdoğan will continue to talk to Nato, kick up a fuss, fight and spy on it while he builds up the informal alliance with Russia. That would no doubt be Vladimir Putin's ideal scenario.”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

US must accept the multipolar world

Erdoğan's announcement doesn't necessarily mean that Turkey is turning its back on the West, Daily Sabah comments:

“The U.S. needs to relax and set aside its fears that Turkey is engaging with Russia and will be a threat to the U.S. This is a Cold War mindset, but the Cold War is over. There might be tension between the U.S. and Russia, but the world is not bipolar. It is multipolar, and Turkey wants to carve out a place for itself in this multipolar world through multidimensional relations.”

Habertürk (TR) /

Just a symbolic transaction

Too much of a fuss is being made about the purchase of the Russian missiles, columnist Fatih Altaylı comments in Habertürk:

“I say that the S-400s we will be buying from Russia most likely won't arrive in Turkey. I say that it's more likely that they will be set up at a Russian base near Turkey and protect the nuclear power station in Akkuyu from there. I say that if they are delivered to Turkey they will probably be stored at a depot and never actually be set up for use. I say that with this we will have paid off the price for the Russian aircraft we shot down. And I say that at the same time we will have reassured the US that we remain loyal to it and to Nato.”