Editor’s Note – Yet another Foreign policy failure. Our once close relationship with Turkey is now about to go Russian. The Cold War, version two is on, and a once valued ally is now gone!
This administration and its State Department are being played like fiddles. FAIL!
By A. Gadjiev – The Voice of Russia
It is expected that Turkey will announce in early July its final decision on the results of the tender on supplying missile defense systems to the Turkish Armed forces.
According to media reports, the decision will be made on July 4 at a meeting of the Defense Industry Executive Committee.
The tender has attracted substantial attention, particularly because of the number of contracts involved. According to the American internet-publication defencenews.com, Turkey is planning to spend 5.5 billion dollars on procuring missile defense systems. The same site writes that Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the country’s S-300 “Antei-2500”, has serious chances of winning the tender. This is merely the technical side of the issue – there is also a political aspect.
The US and a number of western countries are strongly against Turkey choosing the Russian systems, claiming that this could cause problems with their integration into the NATO missile defense. However, many Turkish officials have a different opinion. According to Milliyet daily newspaper, this is because the Turkish national air defense system is not part of NATO’s missile defense shield and Ankara has recently started to seriously consider diversifying the air defense systems deployed on Turkish territory.
Director of Şirinoğlu Research Center in Ankara, former head of the Parliamentary Commission to Investigate Corruption, and Pulitzer Prize winner Ünal İnanç had his own take on the developments:
“During WWII, Russia developed the AK-47 rifle and since then nobody has been able to develop anything better. Twenty years ago I visited Russia as a member of a delegation together with the Turkish Interior minister İsmet Sezgin and the commander of the Turkish Gendarmerie Eşref Bitlis. We came to Russia to buy arms. And why? Because Germany, who was our NATO ally, suddenly declared that Turkey had no right to purchase even plastic cartridges without NATO’s permission. As a result of that trip we purchased armored personnel carriers and military helicopters from Russia. And I believe nobody should have any questions about this. Why should Turkey not procure Russian arms if they are of good quality and at an acceptable price? I think that NATO membership should not be an obstacle towards strengthening cooperation between Russia and Turkey – especially if the buyer and the seller are both satisfied, which is the case now.”
The chairman of the Turkish Veterans Association Korai Gurbuz believes that a Russian-Turkish partnership should reach a new strategic level.
“This would be wrong if Turkey is dependant on the position of a particular country while procuring arms systems. In the past, Turkey experienced difficulties related to the sole use of American military technologies. To avoid such a situation, Turkey should use the best technologies from different countries. There should be an alternative and this would be for the benefit of all sides. It is obvious that Russian arms have certain advantages and Turkey should cooperate with Russia more actively.”
Mr. Gurbuz continued that “We should be objective while procuring arms. Turkey should work with the country which will be able to supply the newest military technologies. And, naturally, procurement of such technologies means closer partnership in the technical field as well as personnel training and maneuvers. Personally, I am for strengthening Russian-Turkish cooperation in this sphere. And if it gets to a new strategic level, Turkey will only benefit from it.”
Turkey is interested in diversifying its arms suppliers since this will make it more confident in dealing with its NATO allies. According to both Mr. İnanç and Mr. Gurbuz, it is not just about lowering the price – as western analysts might purport it as – but also strengthening Turkey’s own position.