Shadows over Turkey’s possible purchase of the Russian S-400May 5, 2017
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed Ankara’s possible acquisition of Russia’s S-400 long-range air defense missile system during a meeting at the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Wednesday. The Kremlin said the two sides had struck a “positive tone” on the ongoing negotiations, but the whole process continues to cast more shadows than light.
On April 28, Ankara’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a Turkish media outlet the government had an agreement in principle to buy from Russia an undefined number of S-400 systems. Cavusoglu underlined that relevant discussions were primarily focused on price, technology transfer and possible joint production.
The S-400 is designed to hit aircraft, drones and cruise and ballistic missiles up to 400 kilometers away and is equipped with a radar able to detect targets at 600km. Turkey has turned to this Russian advanced defense complex after failing to finalize a deal to purchase air defense missile systems from other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Disagreements over price, technology transfer and co-production have so far derailed Western efforts to provide Ankara with a modern missile defense shield.
Turkey was set to buy China’s FD-2000 (HQ-9) air defense platform in 2015. However, it scrapped the US$3.4 billion contract because of Beijing’s unwillingness to transfer technology and pressures from Nato members concerned about Ankara’s purchase of an arms system that could not be integrated into the alliance’s defense apparatus…