Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently claimed that his country will produce S-500 defence systems in a joint effort with Russia. This comes after the Turkish government’s controversial purchase of the S-400 defence system from Russia earlier this year. This move by Turkey has begun to have a negative effect on its already tense relationship with the United States. The U.S. has warned the Turkish government multiple times of the risks involved with the purchase, including possible American sanctions. In addition, the U.S. government says that this deal would be a threat to Western defence. Because of this, the U.S. suspended the delivery of fighter jets to Turkey last month in an effort to stop the purchase. According to Al Jazeera, Turkish pilots are currently in the U.S. and are receiving training for these new fighter jets. The country is expected to purchase a total of 100 jets. Furthermore, President Erdogan claims that the Turkish government conducted studies of S-400 and these new fighter jets, amid U.S. concerns. They concluded that there were no issues and that the country would prefer to receive the jets sooner rather than later. Despite the growing threat of sanctions, Erdogan claims that the S-400s are still planned to be delivered in July.
“There is absolutely no question of [Turkey] taking a step back from the S-400 purchase”, said President Erdogan. “That is a done deal”. He also claimed that “there will be a joint production of the S-500 after the S-400,” despite the ongoing tensions between Turkey and the U.S. When asked about the delayed shipment of fighter jets, President Erdogan stated “They [US] are passing the ball around in the midfield now, showing some reluctance. But sooner or later, we will receive the F-35s. [The US] not delivering them is not an option”. It is becoming clearer that the tensions between these two countries are not to be taken lightly.
As stated previously, Turkey deciding to purchase these defence systems from Russia is creating a lot of international tension. Despite the fact that the U.S. and Turkey are both members of NATO, the purchase of these missile defence systems poses a lot of problems in terms of U.S. involvement in that part of the globe. Because of this, their decision to temporarily withhold Turkey from receiving over 100 new U.S. fighter jets was the right move, and for that they should be applauded. Peace should always be of the utmost priority, and the efforts made by the U.S. are helping that become a reality. At the same time, the Turkish government should be condemned for continuing their negotiations with Russia. Their actions will only incite more conflict on an international level and therefore need to be put in check.
This is not the first time that tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have flared up. There are many world issues that the two countries disagree on. One example is the American support of Syrian Kurdish fighters who are considered “terrorists” by the Turkish. In addition, the U.S. failed to extradite a Muslim preacher who was blamed for the 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan. Despite the fact that both of these countries are proud members of NATO, they still remain at odds to this day.
No one knows exactly what will happen next in this development. It is likely that Turkey will receive their S-400s as planned, which will only cause tensions to grow even more. It is the responsibility of both the U.S. and Turkish governments to reach to a mutual and peaceful solution to these tensions. That way, we can start building our way towards and better and more peaceful relationship that will set a strong precedent for the rest of the world.
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