Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (R) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

NATO Member Turkey Confirms Purchase Of Russian-made S-400 Missile Defense System

Turkey’s foreign minister confirmed that Ankara’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system is a “done deal,” despite opposition from the United States which has pleaded with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to instead purchase the American-made Patriot system. The decision, if actualized, could lead to a major standoff between Turkey and Western countries, as the S-400 is not inter-operable with NATO military hardware and there is concern Moscow could gain access to sensitive technology by virtue of the agreement. Amid the ongoing dispute, Washington already has delayed the transfer to Turkey of F-35 fighter jets and has threatened to sanction Ankara if it acquires the S-400 system. U.S.-Turkey relations are strained due to ongoing American support for Kurdish forces in Syria that Ankara views as an extension of the banned PKK; whereas Erdogan is furious with the Trump administration for refusing to extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish president accuses of orchestrating a failed 2016 coup. The row evidences Turkey’s apparent shift eastwards under Erdogan, who has fostered closer ties with U.S. foes Russia and Iran.

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