United States has quietly floated to Turkey a proposal that it transfers its Russian-supplied S-400 anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine to use against Russian planes.
This would be a way out of a three-year-long, quite nasty argument over whether a NATO nation should be buying Russian defence systems. If Turkey agrees, it could pave the way to resume shipments of its F-35s. Up to now, there is no comment from Turkey.
As the Russia-Ukraine war escalated to day 26, the United States informally raised a request with Turkey to deliver Russian-made S-400 missile defence systems to Ukraine, in a bid to bolster the fight against Moscow. However, Ankara is “unlikely” to accept Washington’s proposition, calling it “American intelligence propaganda,” chairman of the left-wing Turkish Vatan Party, Dogu Perincek told Sputnik news.
“The US does not have the authority to order Turkey around. The Turkish government will by no means accept an order like handing over Russian S-400s to Ukraine,” Perincek said.
“The Turkish government has no such chance. It is impossible that the Turkish government will be willing to even listen to such orders. This information is typical American intelligence propaganda,” he added, as quoted by Sputnik.
Infuriated over Washington’s demand, Perincek also stated that such pressure from America cannot deter Turkey from the F-35 program, which the US ended after Ankara purchased the said defence systems from Russia in 2019. Despite staunch backlash from Washington and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Turkey had indicated it will continue to use the anti-aircraft systems despite the US having completely decommissioned it.
U.S. asks Turkey to transfer S-400 to Ukraine
It is to mention that Perincek’s remarks came after Washington reportedly urged Turkey to deliver S-400 missiles to Ukraine, in an attempt to strengthen the fight against the invading Russian forces, according to Ukrinform. Apart from Turkey, the US is also vouching for other nations to deliver S-300 and S-400 to Kyiv.
With the request, Washington is aimed at pulling away Turkey from its “dance with Russia” by asking to handover the most long-range sophisticated defence systems in existence after having punished Ankara, a NATO ally, for buying it from Moscow in the first place, the NY Times reported.
Turkey-US ties at ‘test’
For a recap, Turkey had entered a defence deal with Russia in 2017 to purchase S-400 systems worth $2.5 billion. The first batch was delivered in 2019. Following this, the US had not just suspended the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter deal with Turkey. In addition, the US also slapped CAATSA sanctions on its Presidency or Defence Industries (SSB). Ankara had later tried to revive the defence relations with Washington by forwarding demand for Lockheed Martin-made Viper class F-16 jets worth $1.4 billion, which was already paid for the F-35 the delivery of which was never received by Ankara. Again, Washington also stood its stance on not reversing any decision until Ankara removed all the S-400 from its soil.
The risk of worsening ties between Moscow, the US as Turkey looms if Ankara delivered S-400 to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin had called Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to urge for contributing to de-escalation by maintaining a neutral position in the ongoing war and asking Ukraine to not align with NATO among other things. However, the demand has already been conceded by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
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