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Turkey Announces The Targets Of Its New Air Defense System

Published: July 12, 2019
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Source: Moon of Alabama

Today first parts of the Russian S-400 air defense systems arrived in Turkey. The Russian Ministry of Defense posted a video of the arrival on Facebook. The Turkish Ministry of Defense video showed the unloading of six support vehicles belong to a S-400 set. A complete S-400 set consists of two radars, a command post, eight launch vehicles with four missiles each, and various loader and other support vehicles. Turkey has ordered two complete sets for which it will pay about $2.5 billion.

The U.S. is threatening economic sanctions against Turkey for ordering and receiving the system. It will also kick Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet program. Turkey was one of the main partners for the F-35 program. It was supposed to receive 100 of the planes and it manufactures parts of the system. Turkey will not receive the ordered planes and those parts will now be made by a U.S. company.

The S-400 system Turkey receives is an export version. It will at first use the 48N6E missiles which have a reach of 250 kilometer. The systems Russia uses include the 40N6E missiles with a reach of 400 kilometers. It will take several months until the first system set in Turkey is complete and operational. So far only 20 Turkish soldiers have been trained on it. 80 more soldiers will arrive in Russia around the end of July to receive their training.

NATO is not amused about the Turkish acquisition:

A NATO official told CNN on Friday that: "It is up to allies to decide what military equipment they buy. However, we are concerned about the potential consequences of Turkey's decision to acquire the S-400 system."

The official added that, "interoperability of our armed forces is fundamental to NATO for the conduct of our operations and missions."

The S-400 in Turkey is not supposed to be interoperable with NATO. The most likely initial deployment area for the new system will be around Ankara to protect the wannabe-Sultan Erdogan from potential U.S. or Israeli attacks.

The government controlled Turkish news agency Anadolu made it abandonedly clear what the system is supposed to target. When it announced the news of the arrival it attached the picture below to its tweet:

ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) @anadoluagency - 12:05 UTC - 12 Jul 2019

#Turkey: Russian #S400 hardware deployment starts http://v.aa.com.tr/1529747


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The upper part fo the graphic explains the S-400 system. The lower part says: "The system can eliminate" and then shows the silhouettes and names of U.S. military bomber, fighter and radar planes as well as Tomahawk cruise missiles. The only one missing is the 'invisible' F-35 which the S-400 can of course also detect and eliminate.

The second S-400 set will likely be stationed on Turkey's southern coast from where it can cover Cyprus and protect Turkish oil interests in the eastern Mediterranean sea. Turkey recently started drilling around Cyprus. North Cyprus is occupied by Turkey since 1974. But its claims for exploration rights extend even to the south of the island and recently started drilling there.


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The European Union, which does not recognize Turkey's occupation of north Cyprus, signaled that it will sanction Turkey over it.

Turkey's relation with the U.S., NATO and the EU are likely to get worse. Russia's slow but steady strategy to draw Turkey to its side is progressing very well. With the F-35 purchase canceled Turkey will have to look to Russia for acquiring modern fighter planes. An order will depend on the manufacturing share Russia is willing to hand over to Turkey.

The Turkish economy is not well. Its aggressions in Syria and Libya proved to be costly. President Erdogan recently fired the chief of the Turkish central bank who was not willing to lower the interest rate. Erdogan believes that high interest rates cause high inflation while 99% of all economists believe that higher interest rates are the best way to fight inflation. Many Turkish companies and private households took out loans that are denominated in Euro or U.S. Dollar. If the central bank lowers the interest rate the Turkish Lira will sink and repaying the loans will become more expensive. New U.S. and EU sanctions will make these problems worse.

Erdogan may soon have an air defense system that can protect Turkey's capital. But the move will cost the country, and Erdogan, in many other fields. Russia is the country that is wins from Turkey's problems. One hopes that it will use the leverage it gains over Turkey to remove the Turkish invasions from Syria.

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