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Lost in translation:  The S-400 dispute

While White House sources would not confirm a CNBC.com article about Ankara being given a two-week deadline to ditch the…

Lost in translation:  The S-400 dispute

While White House sources would not confirm a CNBC.com article about Ankara being given a two-week deadline to ditch the S-400 purchase or face CAATSA and other sanctions, the story seems to be true in its outline in the sense that there is  serious preparation in congress and Pentagon to do without Turkey.  The article below in state-owned TRT Radio and TV network’s news site explains why Ankara is indifferent to the so-called ultimatum. It simply doesn’t understand that US can carry out its threat.

 

Tensions have escalated between two NATO allies after Washington gave Ankara two weeks to decide on its S-400 deal with Russia threatening to remove the country from the F-35 program. But Turkey has so far dismissed the threats.

The US has further escalated tensions with Turkey, threatening its NATO ally with removal from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program and sanctions if Ankara goes ahead with its purchase of Russian S-400 defense system from Moscow.

 

Turkey has repeatedly stated that the S-400 agreement is a done deal that cannot be cancelled, reminding Washington that Ankara, an essential component of the F-35 production process, has invested billions of dollars in participating in the program.

 

Several anonymous US State Department officials say Turkey has just two weeks to decide on the S-400 issue to avoid facing the consequences, which include its termination from the F-35 program.

 

“We underscore that Turkey will face very real and negative consequences if it completes its S-400 delivery,” one of the State Department officials said.

 

“NATO countries need to procure military equipment that is interoperable with NATO systems. A Russian system would not meet that standard,” the official added.

 

But the Turkish defense department has other thoughts about both the US threat for removal from the program and the interoperability issue between S-400s and F-35s.

 

“They cannot kick us out from the program, which has the participation of nine countries, without getting the consent of all the members,” a Turkish defense department official said.

 

“There are no articles in the agreement regulating the removal of a participant country from the program,” the official, who requested anonymity, told TRT World.

 

Because of the lack of regulations in the agreement, he concludes that Turkey cannot be removed from the program.

 

Meanwhile, the Turkish defense department continues its preparations to receive F-35s in November and expects to receive the delivery of S-400s from Russia in June, the official also said.

 

“Every step Turkey takes to ensure its security will also benefit its allies,” Celik emphasized, during a press conference on May 22.

 

He also indicated that Turkey gives the utmost importance to the NATO alliance.

 

The defense official also draws attention to the fact that if Turkey were to be removed from the program, the whole agreement should be renewed or go through another round of approvals in each participant country, which will bring several unnecessary obstacles to implementing the program.

 

Removing Turkey from the program could be a violation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed among the member states of the program, according to Turkish legal experts.

 

The Turkish defense ministry also disagrees with US State Department officials on the interoperability issue raised by Washington periodically to dissuade Ankara from buying Russian S-400s.

 

“We will use S-400s and F-35s for different purposes. There will be no hardware or software relationship between these two systems whatsoever,” the defense source said.

 

“We told our counterparts in the US that we have a very powerful relationship and alliance, having a long history. We can form joint mechanisms, which could be led by NATO, to discuss whether the S-400 system is a threat for NATO’s security system or not,” Celik, the AK Party spokesman said.

 

 

 

As they say, lost in translation.  Turkey’s purge of experienced diplomats first on suspicion of secularism, than on charges of Gulenism rendered the Foreign Office devoid of talent and experience, which could be the cause of opposing views on what Turkey’s counterparties can do.

The fate of the matter is that US and NATO are united in their opposition to S-400 purchase and will punish Turkey with all the means available in their arsenal to stop it.  İt is a matter of time, Ankara wakes up to smell the coffee.

 

PA Intelligence Editorial  Board

 

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