The US has “extended an olive branch” to Turkey, considering S-400

The current relationship between the United States and Turkey has been deteriorating. The cause is the conflict between the two nations, and the United States, as NATO’s leader, has grown frustrated with Turkey’s defiance. The most visible evidence of the two nations’ icy relationship is Turkey’s acquisition of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile defense system, amid resistance from the US and NATO.

In this respect, the US hopes that Turkey would renounce its intention to acquire Russian weaponry, or else it would impose sanctions on Turkey, resulting in a standstill in the two nations’ relationship. Turkey was likewise booted out of the F-35 development deal by the United States. What is noteworthy is that the US is now extending an olive branch to Turkey, urging it to pick an alternative to the Russian S-400.

According to a May 29 article by Ahval News, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Ruth Sherman stated that Washington proposed to Ankara that the Russian S-400 air defense missile system be replaced, and that Turkey should know what steps to take. The US “Patriot” system is expected to be the US government’s alternative to Turkey.

This time, the US offered Turkey an alternate proposal, which was widely perceived as a concession made by the US to Turkey in order to alleviate tensions between the two nations. The modern United States has numerous adversaries all over the world and has began to do little.

As a result, it must gain the support of certain friends. Turkey was previously a NATO member state, and Biden understandably did not want his allies to abandon him at a vital juncture in dealing with China and Russia. The plan to replace the Russian S-400 anti-missile system with a “Patriot” anti-missile system is a strong indicator that the US wants to move toward a constructive relationship with Russia.

It is worth mentioning, however, that during Trump’s administration, the US promised to send Patriots to replace the S-400, but Erdogan did not believe Trump’s story. In the end, the two countries were unable to strike an agreement. So, given that Biden is using the same processes and ideas, how does Erdogan choose? Will he take the US offer? According to the study, the Turkish government is more likely to select the S-400 than the Patriot. There are three causes for this:

The first is the price factor. The United States has no edge in this regard. The Patriot anti-missile system is significantly more costly than Russia’s S-400 system. The second difficulty is the transfer of key technologies. The United States has long been well-versed in its own armaments sales. In general, the United States’ intended market for weaponry exports is its allies, and it also expects them to adopt its own worldwide agenda. The US will not share essential technology because it believes the knowledge would be leaked to China or Russia.

Recently, there was a good example. Because China and the UAE’s relationship is strengthening, when the US Department of Defense sells F-35 fighters to the latter, the US intelligence agency also monitors direct transportation flights between China and the UAE for fear that “US defense technology” will be leaked to China or other countries.

The third point to consider is Turkey’s political direction and access to the US. Since Erdogan took power, Turkey’s ultimate ambition has been to restore the Ottoman Empire’s splendor. As a result, Turkey will not be willing to continue acting as the United States’ younger brother and following the United States’ strategic doctrine, which manifestly contradicts Turkey’s national interest.

In conclusion, Turkey is more likely to choose the Russian S-400 air defense missile system in the end. In addition, the existing relationship between Turkey and the United States is unfavorable. There are several examples of both sides clearly choking in the international arena, and the US believes it has conquered Turkey’s fate and has threatened Turkey’s acquisition of F-35 fighter jets.

As a result of this, Turkey has began to commit itself to independent research and development of local fighter planes, and its enthusiasm for acquiring F-35 fighters has waned. The current Turkish government is keen to adopt the S-400 and has engaged with Russia to acquire the second batch.

Raihan Ronodipuro
Raihan Ronodipuro
Raihan Ronodipuro holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the prestigious School of Public Policy & Management at Tsinghua University, China. His academic journey was propelled by the esteemed Chinese MOFCOM Scholarship, leading him to successfully attain a Master of Law in International Relations from the School of International and Public Affairs at Jilin University, China. With a rich background, Raihan has also contributed as an Associate Researcher in the Department of Politics and Security at the Center for Indonesia-China Studies (CICS). Currently, he plays a pivotal role as a member of the International Relations Commission within the Directorate of Research and Studies for the Overseas Indonesian Students' Association Alliance (OISAA) for the term 2022/2023.