துருக்கி அரசாங்கம் சர்ச்சைக்குரிய வகையில் ரஸ்யாவுடன் உடன்படிக்கை ஒன்றில் கைச்சாத்திட்டுள்ளது. ரஸ்யாவின் எஸ்-400 ரக விமான எதிர்ப்பு ஏவுகணைகளை கொள்வனவு செய்வது தொடர்பில் துருக்கி உடன்படிக்கையில் கைச்சாத்திட்டுள்ளது. 2.5 பில்லியன் டொலர் பெறுமதியான உடன்படிக்கை கைச்சாத்திடப்பட்டுள்ளது.
ஏற்கனவே இதற்கான வைப்புத் தொகை வங்கியில் வைப்புச் செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளதாக துருக்கியின் ஜனாதிபதி ரெசெப் தயிப் எர்டோகன் தெரிவித்துள்ளார். நேட்டோ படையின் இரண்டாவது பெரிய இராணுவத்தை துருக்கி கொண்டுள்ளது என்பது குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது.
துருக்கிக்கும் அமெரிக்காவிற்கும் இடையிலான உறவுகளில் விரிசல் நிலைமை ஏற்பட்டதனைத் தொடர்ந்து, துருக்கி ரஸ்யாவுடன் நெருங்கிய தொடர்புகளைப் பேண ஆரம்பித்துள்ளமை குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது.
Tensions within Nato
A military adviser to Mr Putin, Vladimir Kozhin, said the S-400 contract with Turkey was “strictly compatible with our strategic interests”. “On that score, one can quite understand the reaction of some Western countries who are trying to put pressure on Turkey.”
Mr Erdogan, quoted by Turkey’s Hurriyet daily, voiced displeasure with unnamed Western partners who were “seeking enormous amounts of money” for military drones.
He said Turkey had killed 90 YPG “terrorists” in the past week with Turkish drones – developed because the Western ones were too expensive.
“We are responsible for taking security measures for the defence of our country,” he stressed.
The BBC’s Mark Lowen in Turkey says the missile deal is clearly a rebuff to Nato, after the US and Germany withdrew Patriot air defence batteries from Turkey.
In 2015, Turkey urged its Nato allies to keep those batteries positioned on the Turkish-Syrian border.
Speaking to AFP news agency, an unnamed Nato official said: “No Nato ally currently operates the S-400”. They added: “Nato has not been informed about the details of any purchase.”
Germany’s Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, said Berlin would put all arms exports to Turkey on hold due to the deteriorating relationship between the two nations.
Mr Gabriel’s counterpart in Ankara, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said the comments were inappropriate for a foreign minister.
Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since Turkey arrested a Turkish-German journalist in February as part of a crackdown on political opponents in the country.
Turkey is also angry with the US for not extraditing Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric who, according to Mr Erdogan, organised the July 2016 coup plot by rogue Turkish officers. Mr Gulen denied any involvement.
Manufacturer: Almaz-Antey arms firm; Deployment: Hmeimim airbase near Latakia – entered service in Russia in 2007; Range: 400km (248 miles); Speed: up to 4.8km (3 miles) per second; Max target height: 30km – can track up to 80 targets simultaneously; Types of target: aircraft, cruise missiles, medium-range missiles, drones, other airborne surveillance systems. (Sources: RIA Novosti, Russian 1TV.ru)
How it works
- Long-range surveillance radar tracks objects and relays information to command vehicle, which assesses potential targets
- Target is identified and command vehicle orders missile launch
- Launch data are sent to the best placed launch vehicle and it releases surface-to-air missiles
- Engagement radar helps guide missiles towards target
Not a good choice for Nato
By Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence correspondent
Turkey’s decision has both practical and political significance. Inevitably it will be seen as a further sign of Ankara’s gradual estrangement from its Western allies.
Turkey has been in the market for new air defences for some time. Four years ago it flirted with the idea of buying a Chinese system. But after pressure from its Nato allies it backed away from the deal.
Choosing a Russian system which will be hard, if not impossible, to integrate into Nato’s wider air defence system makes little strategic sense.
It was not that long ago – November 2015 – that Turkey actually shot down a Russian warplane that it said had intruded into its airspace from Syria.
But since then much has changed. On regional policy Ankara and Moscow are more closely aligned. And Turkey’s internal policies are seen as increasingly repressive by many of its allies.
In Nato generally the only Russian equipment used is legacy hardware in the forces of former Warsaw Pact countries. Greece also has an earlier Russian air defence system that was first sold to Cyprus.