Egozi: Turkey’s S-400 Missiles

Egozi: Turkey’s S-400 Missiles

This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

By Arie Egozi

Turkey continues to provoke the U,S by acting against all NATO interests. According to Turkish media, in recent days, Ankara has tested its Russian-made S-400 air defense system. 

The Turkish television channel A Haber, which is close to the government, said on its website that Turkey’s military test-fired the Russian S-400 in the Black Sea province of Sinop. 

The report was based on an amateur video, reportedly filmed in Sinop, which allegedly shows a contrail of the air defense missile.

The same report was carried by other news outlets in Turkey.

The U.S. State Department said the missile launch is “incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO ally and strategic partner” of the U.S.

Turkey insists it was forced to purchase the Russian system after Washington refused to sell it the U.S. Patriot system.

Russia delivered the first batch of the Russian defense system last year. Turkey had initially said the S-400 would be operational in April but it has since delayed activating the system.

During a visit to Turkey earlier this year, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated that the S-400 cannot be integrated into the NATO air and missile defense system and can lead to sanctions by the United States.

The test launch is seen by experts in Israel as another “big shift” in the Turkish commitment to NATO.

This – when in the background, the ties between Turkey and Iran are warming up.

In recent months Turkey has taken a few steps that made the question of whether it can still be a member of NATO, a very acute one. The surprising fact is that the organization has not reacted and has not taken any action to try and stop the process .That further puts a question mark on its real value as an organization that may be called for combined military operations.

To all the other factors that shed a big doubt about Turkey’s role in NATO the closer ties with Iran is seen by Israeli experts as the “final blow” to the Turkish membership in NATO.

The Turkish detachment from the west started with the purchase of the Russian made S-400 air defense system, went on in negotiations about the purchase of the Russian SU-57 advanced fighter aircraft, and for desert a declaration about Turkey’s intent to achieve military nuclear power.

The developments cause big concerns in the U.S and in some European countries but so far nothing concrete has been done to try and change the situation that Israeli experts call “worrying”

Israeli experts who talked on condition of anonymity said that the west “Is blind if it does not see the buildup of relations between Iran and Turkey.”

All signs are showing this week that Iran has made a strategic decision to accelerate its nuclear program.

On Nov.7 Iran announced a further withdrawal from commitment to the nuclear agreement after failing to bridge gaps in Europe. Iran is on its way to the fourth step in reducing commitment in the agreement.

If the Iranian “Give and Take” strategy does not produce the expected products, Teheran may make the final gallop to the nuclear threshold. This means that it can arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead in a matter of weeks.

Major. General (Ret.) Yitzahk Ben Israel, former head of the ministry of defense Administration for the Development of Weapons and Defense Infrastructures, said that Turkey  is continuing to challenge NATO and that Ankara has chosen very clearly to take another direction in its defense policy.

Israeli sources say that the tension between the U.S and Turkey related to the Kurdish problem has brought the situation in a point of no return. The experts add that this development will demand dramatic changes in the status of Turkey as a NATO member.

Arie Egozi, iHLS Editor-in-Chief