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HomeInternational RelationsRussia - TurkeyFour Considerations Encouraging Turkey to Exchange Russian S-400s for US F-35s

Four Considerations Encouraging Turkey to Exchange Russian S-400s for US F-35s

In a move that has sparked widespread conversation, US Acting Deputy Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, urged Turkey during a recent visit to give up its Russian-made S-400 air defense system, in order for the country to be re-included in the F-35 fighter jet program. Her stance has been a topic of interest for many, however, it has received a lukewarm response from Turkish officials.

When asked about Nuland’s proposition, a high-ranking official from the Turkish Defense Ministry stated on Thursday that the stances of the two nations on this issue remain unchanged. This news has spread skepticism among observers who anticipated breakthrough news from the interactions.

He told local Turkish media that, “At this stage, the statements made by the USA should be considered as a declaration of good faith.” It appears that these interactions are viewed as symbolic gestures of amicability, rather than signs of substantial change.

Turkey’s involve in the F-35s manufacturing consortium, a globally recognized initiative, ended abruptly in 2020. The grounds for this expulsion revolved around Turkey’s purchase of the Russian manufactured S-400s system. This move was classified under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) as a punishable offense, leading to sanctions and Turkey’s departure from the manufacturing consortium.

The F-35 stealth jet fighter program is among the most advance of its kind globally, making Turkey’s removal from the consortium a significant drawback for the country’s military capabilities. Fifth-generation fighter aircraft like the F-35s are packed with cutting-edge technology and superior combat capabilities. Being part of the manufacturing consortium would have been significantly beneficial to Turkey, both in terms of enhancing its own defense capabilities and boosting its defence industry.

The S-400 is no less advanced itself. Manufactured by Russia, the S-400 missile defence system is considered one of the best defense technologies available globally. Its capabilities of shooting down incoming missiles make it a highly appreciated added strength to any country’s defense tactics. However, its possession by Turkey was received with criticism by the US, leading to the continent’s discardal from the F-35 program.

Even now, months after the event, the act continues to become the defining chapter for Turkey-US relations, significantly influencing the discourse of numerous international relations pundits across the globe. The United States’ persistence in its decision to keep Turkey out of the F-35 program following its purchase of the S-400 system has caused a strain in the relationship between Ankara and Washington, a subject that Nuland’s visit was largely focused on.

Thus, Victoria Nuland’s stance during her visit to Turkey that Ankara should abandon the S-400 air defense system for a return to the F-35 stealth jet fighter program is receiving widespread attention. Nevertheless, this news does not mark a critical shift in the narrative. The official reaction from Ankara to this proposition is mostly indifferent, suggesting that radical shifts in the story may not be on the horizon anytime soon. All in all, while Nuland’s statements have generated buzz, they appear to have done little in shifting from the existing state of play.


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Author: Turkish News