Is it wise to sell F-35s to Russia's buddy in Turkey?

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday it was out of the question for Turkey to take a step back from its deal with Moscow to buy Russian S-400 missile defence systems, Reuters reports.

Speaking to reporters after morning prayers, Erdogan also said an offer from the United States to sell Patriot missiles to Turkey was not as good as the Russian offer. 

“There is a certain step that we took, there is an agreement here and we are committed to it,” Erdogan said of the deal with Moscow. “It is out of the question for us to take a step back.” 

Turkey’s deal to buy the Russian S-400s, which could be delivered within weeks, has alarmed Washington and Turkey’s other Western NATO allies, who say the Russian system is incompatible with NATO’s defence network and poses a threat to U.S. F-35 fighter jets that Turkey also plans to buy. 

There are questions over why Russia would would wish to sell its much-vaunted air defence system to a NATO country.

Once situated in Turkey, control of such systems could theoretically be taken over by Russia, effectively giving them air defence systems based on NATO territory, greatly expanding the range of their air defences.

Questions should also now be asked as to the wisdom of selling F-35 fighters to Turkey, as Erdogan's seemingly cosy relationship with the Kremlin suggests that this advanced technology might very quickly find itself in Russian hands.

But the big question, and one which would play straight into Vladimir Putin's hands, is "under the circumstances, should Turkey be expelled from NATO?" 

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon

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