S-400 Deliveries Underway! Will Turkey Be Punished For Doing Business With Moscow?
The deliveries of Russian S-400 missile systems to Turkey are underway. Late Sunday's evening, the seventh airplane, carrying its components, landed in the province of Ankara. Meanwhile, in the USA, they're discussing possible sanctions against Turkey for purchasing the S-400.
Alexey Leonkov, the military expert from the magazine Arsenal Otechestva is now live with us.
— Hello, Alexey Petrovich.
— As for the deliveries, as we've mentioned, Russia has begun to fulfill the very important defense contract, and these are the first S-400 missile systems delivered to Turkey. Some experts in Germany are already calling it «Putin's triumph». What do you think Russia gains from that deal besides commercial profit?
Alexey Leonkov, military expert:
— First of all, in addition to a business deal, Russia gets some image, because when delivering this kind of weaponry, unlike the United States, we don't demand a certain loyalty from our customers or to support some of our ideas. We just sell weapons, defensive weaponry to be exact, to countries that want to buy them and defend their sovereignty. As you know, in addition to Turkey, there are another few countries that will buy those systems for their defense.
— How can that contract influence the relations between Turkey and the U.S. and NATO in general? What sanctions can Washington really introduce against Ankara? What effect can those restrictions have?
— Of course, the U.S. itself or acting through its partners in NATO can impose a wide range of sanctions. These are mostly economic sanctions. The thing is that as a result of those deliveries, Turkey involuntarily entered the circle of countries that now represent the so-called multipolar world. With economic projects, they help other countries survive such sanctions. I mean Russia and China, first and foremost. They implement global and extensive economic projects. That's why despite the fact that Turkey gets military equipment, Turkey can join those projects. We know the TurkStream, one of those projects, and the construction of a nuclear power plant. If Turkey faces economic sanctions, it'll be able to overcome them with the help of new partners, who, let's say, offer a much wider range of services.
— How critical is the loss of the opportunity to buy the American fifth-generation F-35 for Turkey, because Ankara was excluded from the program for the development of that aircraft? Will they be able to get their money back or find an alternative?
— I think that they're unlikely to get their money back. Turkey invested over $150 million in that program. It did it when Americans just looked for partners to buy the F-35 aircraft. It's clear that the contract was made for a bigger number of aircraft. Turkey even paid a part of that amount. But the Americans will find a way to avoid delivering those aircraft despite the fact that only a small portion of those aircraft was intended for Turkey. But it won't have critical influence because Turkey can buy aircraft from other countries. By the way, Turkish leaders said that Russia is one of those countries.
— How can the S-400 in Turkey influence the balance of power in the region? What is their neighbors' reaction to that?
— You know, it'll lead to Turkey having a better anti-aircraft defense. Earlier, similar S-300 systems were delivered to another NATO country in that region — Greece. It's clear that it didn't substantially change the situation in the region. Nobody threatened anyone. On the other hand, it defended Greece's interests in terms of anti-aircraft defense. The same will happen in the case of Turkey because, despite the fact that it's a big country, it didn’t have those long-range anti-aircraft systems. Unfortunately, the Americans took back the Patriot systems deployed in Turkey, and Turkey was left unprotected.
— Alexey Petrovich, why do you think they decided to deliver the S-400 components by plane but not by sea as the latter must be much cheaper?
— You know, there are different reasons for logistics solutions. Turkey is located not far from us. Delivery by plane is one of the ways to timely fulfill the contact's provisions. This is my first point. On the other hand, the opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities in logistics with the help of aviation is also a good sign that we can deliver equipment not only by sea but by plane as well.
— Thank you, Alexey Petrovich.
We discussed the deliveries of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system to Turkey with the military expert from the magazine Arsenal Otechestva, Alexey Leonkov.