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Why the US is Pushing Back on Turkey Over S400 Delivery


This week, Turkey received its second shipment of components which will makes its newly acquired Russian-made S-400s SAM missile defense system operational. Citing concerns of Russian access to NATO defense secrets, US lawmakers have responded with demands of immediate economic sanctions against Turkey.

While Pentagon brass have remained relatively silent on the issue, political leaders in Washington fear that the integration of the S-400s into Turkish defense could somehow compromise the tactical advantage of the US-built F-35 fighter jet.

President Erdogan

US House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and ranking member Michael McCaul (R-TX) believe that Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan should be punished for receiving the Russian shipment stating that, “President Erdogan was given a very clear choice. Unfortunately, he has clearly made the wrong one. That a NATO ally would choose to side with Russia and Vladimir Putin over the alliance and closer cooperation with the United States is hard to fathom.”

According to officials in Ankara, the acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile system was “not a choice but a necessity,” as Turkey believes it is under threat.

In a phone conversation between Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and Washington’s acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Akar insists that his country is “under serious threat” from Kurdish militants and other possible threats, meaning that the S-400s were necessary for achieving its security goals.

Regardless of Turkey;s concerns, the move has the potential to cause a major rift with long time allies Washington.

Earlier this year, US threatened to cancel Turkey’s involvement in Lockheed Martin’s multinational F-35 fighter project – which could result in major financial and political complications for both countries.

READ MORE TURKEY NEWS: 21st Century Wire Turkey Files

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