Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, which is a step forward in Turkey-Russia relations, remains the main irritant in relations between Ankara and Washington(US-Turkey relations). The corresponding opinion was made on Tuesday, May 12 by the US Special Representative for Syria and one of the leading experts in relations with Turkey – James Jeffrey.
“The S-400 missile system is a huge question (between US-Turkey relations)… This is an extremely difficult question because it concerns the largest investment in the defense of the United States and its allies since World War II – the F-35 fighter. Turkey’s actions undermine the potential of this fighter. Two sides stagnated on this issue. This is the biggest problem. Otherwise, Turkey and I get along quite well on most issues, including Libya, NATO, the Caucasus-Black Sea region, Syria, and Iraq, ”a senior State Department official said at a conference at the Hudson Institute.
Russia and Turkey signed a contract for the supply of four S-400 missile divisions in December 2017. At the same time, Russia provided Ankara with a loan in the amount of 50% of the transaction amount. The complexes were delivered to the customer in the summer of 2019. However, the Turkish authorities are in no hurry to commission the S-400 missile system. The last delay, according to official data from the Turkish side, turned out to be associated with the pandemic of coronavirus.
The United States reacted very sharply to the purchase of the Russian system.
First, Washington expelled Turkey from the F-35 program, under which Ankara planned to buy a hundred fighters and take part in the production of components. The pose of the Donald Trump administration invited the Turkish authorities to return the purchased systems to Russia, and instead to acquire the American Patriot air defense systems; however, after the arrival of Russian complexes in the country, this proposal was canceled.