Turkey “Turns Away” From NATO, Buys Russian Advanced Missile System For $2.5 Billion

 

In a move that Bloomberg has defined as “signalling a turn away from the NATO military alliance that has anchored Turkey to the West for more than six decades” Turkey agreed to pay $2.5 billion to acquire Russia’s most advanced missile defense system, a senior Turkish official told Bloomberg on Thursday. The proposed deal which was first reported here back in November 2016, has been finalized and the preliminary agreement sees Turkey receiving two S-400 missile batteries from Russia within the next year, then producing another two inside Turkey.

For Ankara, which has had a dramatic falling out with its NATO partners over the past year, the missile deal with Russia “is a clear sign that Turkey is disappointed in the U.S. and Europe,” said Konstantin Makienko, an analyst at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, a Moscow think-tank. “But until the advance is paid and the assembly begins, we can’t be sure of anything.” Furthermore, the Russian system would not be compatible with other NATO defense systems, but just as importantly wouldn’t be subject to constraints imposed by the alliance, which prevent Turkey from deploying such systems on the Armenian border, Aegean coast or Greek border. The Russian deal would allow Turkey to deploy the missile defense systems anywhere in the country, a move which will prompt a cry of outrage from Turkey’s neighbors, especially Greece.

So what does Turkey get in exchange for $2.5 billion? First and foremost, Russia’s most advanced technology or know-how, a Turkish official quoted by Bloomberg said. Turkey wants to be able to produce its own advanced defense systems, and the Russian agreement to allow two of the S-400 batteries to be produced in Turkey would serve that aim. For Russia there is little to lose from the deal as the US most likely already has the full details of the system, however they are obviously kept secret from US NATO allies, especially someone as volatile as Turkey.

“There are a lot of different levels of technology transfer,” and any offer to Turkey would probably be limited in terms of sophistication, said Makienko, the Moscow-based analyst. For Russia, the potential risk from the transaction contained: “For Turkey to be able to copy the S-400 system, it would have to spend billions to create a whole new industry.”

According to Bloomberg, the S-400 is designed to detect, track and then destroy aircraft, drones or missiles. It’s Russia’s most advanced integrated air defense system, and can hit targets as far as 250 miles away. Russia has also agreed to sell them to China and India, both nations who are masters at reverse engineering.

Most concerning for NATO, however is that the systems delivered to Turkey would not have a friend-or-foe identification system, which means they could be deployed against any threat without restriction.

Full article: Turkey “Turns Away” From NATO, Buys Russian Advanced Missile System For $2.5 Billion (ZeroHedge)

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