Turkey’s Minister of National Defence Fikri Işık have joined live broadcast on NTV and made comments that they have contacted with other countries about their emergency need on air-defense systems. “We made some progress in talks with Russia for s-400 missiles but it’s not ready to sign by tomorrow.” he added.
“Turkey needs a missile and air-defense. Now, we providing it by NATO, but Turkey is in need of permanent systems that will protect itself from air attacks. Our main goal is to build our own air-defense system, so we started a program for it. But until that time, we have contacted with several countries and companies.”
Işık was asked about how the deal with Russia would affect Turkey’s relationships with NATO and USA. He said he believes they will understand it and also he mentioned that some NATO countries have non-NATO systems.
President’s spox Kalin: talks continue on the S-400
“The talks are continuing on the S-400,” Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for the Turkish government told the TRT channel in Russia according to TASS. “The defense industry’s secretariat and the president are receiving information about that. We are closely watching the negotiations. I don’t know whether we’ll have enough time to deal with this issue before a session of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council that will be held in Russia. But, of course, this theme will be raised at the level of the leaders.”
Turkish efforts to buy the S-400 could be genuine
The possibility of Turkey purchasing a Russian system has dawn mixed responses from analysts.
“I think this could be a genuine effort,” said Sam Bendett, a researcher specializing in Russian military affairs at CNA Corp. “It certainly makes the U.S., NATO and Israel take notice.”
Other experts such as Mike Kofman, a fellow specializing in Russian military affairs at the Wilson Center, are not convinced. “This is all a political leverage game,” he said. “Turkey is up to the same game as they were with China.”
Turkey had selected the Chinese-built HQ-9 air defense system in 2013 for a similar tender, but that effort was seen by many analysts as an effort to spur Western technology transfers. “It was a cheap Turkish attempt to get better terms from Western producers that would include some kind of technology transfer,” Kofman said. “They are now trying the same tactic with Russia. As though Russia would transfer technology to them, helping to make the Turkish defense industry a stronger competitor—or as a secondary issue—sell its best air defense to a NATO country. Turkey is again using these talks to try and blackmail NATO countries into air defense sales.”
Bendett, however, believes that the Turkish effort to buy the S-400 could be genuine. “Turkey doesn’t have a missile defense system that the S-400 would represent. At the same time, Turkey must have been paying very close attention to threats posed to Saudi Arabia by Houthi rebels and their sophisticated array of technologies that can directly threaten the Saudi homeland.”WHatti