Russia – Turkey sign S-400 missile deal

nsnbc : The Russian Federation has signed a deal with Turkey for the delivery of advanced S-400 surface to air missile systems. The deal was finalized as Russia and Turkey continue boosting ties while ties between Turkey and the European Union and ties with key NATO members continue to deteriorate.

S-400 SAM_Russia_MoD_2017The sale of the S-400 surface-to-air missile system further consolidates bilateral relations between Moscow and Ankara. Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation confirmed to the Russian State Interfax news agency on Tuesday that a contract had been signed.

Diplomatic, economic and other ties were stressed in late 2015, after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet in the Turkey – Syria border region. Relations began improving significantly after the failed military coup in Turkey last year and as Turkey and Russia began organizing the Astana Talks on Syria, together with Iran, and as Ankara’s ties with the EU and NATO began to deteriorate.

“Nobody has the right to discuss the Turkish republic’s independence principles or independent decisions about its defense industry,” Turkish President Recep Erdogan was cited as saying by media on Tuesday, adding a deposit on the missiles had already been paid.

Germany_MoFA_Sigmar Gabriel_Sep 2017Ironically, the announcement that the S-400 deal had been finalized came not long after Germany announced that it has put all major arms exports to Turkey on hold due to the deteriorating human rights situation and increasingly strained bilateral tes between the two NATO members.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s remarks came after a German Foreign Ministry spokesman in the capital Berlin said yet another German couple was believed to have been detained in Turkey on political charges.

During a panel discussion organized by the German business daily Handelsblatt, Gabriel said “We have put on hold all big requests [for arms exports] that Turkey has sent us and these are really not a few.”

heckler-koch-logo_germanyIn November 2016 German defense manufacturer Heckler & Koch (H&K) already questioned whether the company would deliver more weapons to Turkey. H&K, in 2016, mulled the stop of arms exports to Turkey as the company planned to rebrand its image and limit exports to other NATO member States and other “solid states”. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel is a senior member of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), who are a junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrat (CDU) led coalition.

Gabriel would modify his statement when he said Germany was “obliged” to send arms to another NATO country “if requested”, and them re-modified his statement when he said that this was currently not possible because nearly all arms exports to Turkey had been put on ice”. Gabriel explained that there were only a few exemptions, such as if the government’s decision was tied to international agreements or if the requested exports were about vehicles, not weapons.

YPG fighters during SDF operations (archives)

YPG fighters during SDF operations (archives)

The relationship between the two NATO members deteriorated rapidly when Germany would not cave in to Ankara’s “demands” to prohibit Kurdish demonstrations in Germany and demands from the AKP government to allow “elected Turkish officials” to participate in rallies up to the referendum on constitutional change that saw an executive presidential system introduced in Turkey.

Germany blasts Turkey for systemic human rights abuses including arrests of elected officials and arrests of German citizens in Turkey on what Berlin claims are political charges. Reports that Turkey launched an investigation into 700 German firms, including giants Daimler and BASF, added further fuel to the tension, with Berlin considering whether or not to impose economic sanctions on Ankara.

Turkey’s relations with key NATO member USA are also stressed. Among others, because the United States does not extradite the self-exiled Turkish cleric Fetullah Gülen whom Ankara accuses of having organized the attempted coup in 2016. Relations have become extremely stressed after the United States overtly began supporting the Syrian – Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) who are the main constituent in the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Ankara considers the PYD and its military wings, the YPG and YPJ as terrorist organizations allied and on par with Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).

F/AK – nsnbc 13.09.2017

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