US threatens Turkey over Russian S-400 air defence purchase
28 March 2019
Turkish-US relations have deteriorated in recent weeks, with Washington threatening reprisals if Ankara goes ahead with the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defence system.
Relations between the two countries have been in a downward spiral for some time—especially since Washington made the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers a “terrorist organization” and threat to the Turkish state, its main proxy army in its regime-change war in Syria, then supported a failed July 2016 coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Differences have since expanded to include an array of Mideast and even global issues. Washington is particularly alarmed by Ankara’s attempts to offset pressure from its traditional western allies, by forging closer ties with Russia and Iran.
Washington is adamant Turkey not finalize the purchase of the S-400, a long-range air and missile defence system, for $2.5 billion, claiming that its deployment would disrupt US-Turkish and Turkish-NATO military-security cooperation.
In testimony before a congressional committee Tuesday, the acting US Defense Secretary, Patrick Shanahan, signalled that if Ankara proceeds with the S-400 purchase, Washington will block further shipments of F-35 fighter jets to Ankara and cut Turkish companies out of the F-35 project.
Asked if the Pentagon wants Turkey as an F-35 partner, Shanahan said “We absolutely do,” then added, “we need Turkey to buy the Patriot.” This was a reference to Washington’s offer to sell US-made Patriot missile batteries to Ankara, for $3.5 billion, in lieu of the S-400.
If Turkey deploys the S-400 it would run afoul of US sanctions against Russia. The 2017…