Trump Team Takes Turkey to Task Thanks to Test
Turkey over the weekend continued its impressive efforts to tick off the entire Western world in a variety of ways, this time incising the United States by conducting a trial launch of an advanced Russian-made missile. According to a video obtained by Reuters, the secret military drill, in which the S-400 missile defense system was tested, was held on Friday near the northern city of Sinop, on the Black Sea coast. While no Turkish confirmation or denial was issued, US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus called the launch “incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO ally and strategic partner of the US.” Ankara’s acquisition of the advanced Russian S-400 system in 2017, and the arrival of the first batteries late last year, caused Washington to remove Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet program, citing fears that Moscow’s missiles endanger NATO defense systems. In recent weeks, Turkey has ratcheted up its aggressive posturing in and around Asia, egging on and arming Azerbaijan in its war against Armenia, sending more ships into disputed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean, making controversial unilateral moves in Cyprus, sending mercenary fighters into war-torn Libya, repurposing the Hagia Sophia into a mosque, and picking fights with European diplomats.