Egypt's Qalaa Holdings Q1 revenues climb 134%, winning over global challenges    Egypt introduces first beach for visually-impaired guests in Alexandria    Egypt's athlete Basma Emad wins bronze in weightlifting in Mediterranean Games    Gold prices in Egypt on July 3    Egypt: Ever Art crosses Suez Canal on its first voyage    Saudi citizens could enter Schengen countries visa-free    Egypt's Petrojet returns to Libyan oil sector after 11 years    Cemex, VeryNile sign deal for Egypt's Nile River    NATO remarks Egypt's role in maintaining stability in Middle East and Africa    Congo needs Egypt's expertise to diversify its economy – FPI official    Dostarlimab drug cures rectal cancer patient 100%, trials show    Egypt: A royal train turns into a new tourism attraction    For the first time John Legend to perform in Egypt    Egypt discovers newly treasure trove of ancient artifacts at Saqqara Necropolis    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Liverpool fans: "You'll Never Walk Alone" to Cristiano Ronaldo    Egypt to play key role in integrating water, climate issues globally – World Bank official    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Egypt's trade with Nile basin countries climbs 26% y-o-y in 9 months    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

The S400 U-turn
Published in Ahram Online on 14 - 09 - 2021

The day before he officially recognised the Armenian genocide, which is commemorated on 24 April, US President Joe Biden called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to notify him. That was the first official phone call he made to his Turkish counterpart after taking office. He later personally met with Erdogan on the fringe of the NATO summit in Brussels, but subsequently dismissed the importance of the meeting.
Erdogan was forced to try other avenues to soften Washington's shoulder, which his own actions had provoked. He went knocking on the doors of US allies in the Middle East he had previously alienated, in the hope that this would send the right message. In addition to offering Turkish military services to help the US extricate itself from Afghanistan, he also reiterated its desire to join the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) connected to the European Union's security and defence policy.
Still, he would also have to make some gestures related to his arms deals with Moscow. This, he knew, was unavoidable in order to press reset with Washington. In this regard, the Anatolian air is thick with rumours of a frost between Ankara and Moscow against the backdrop of the former's purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile systems which have been a main source of tension between the US and its European allies in NATO. It appears that Turkey is looking for a way to back out of the S-400 deal. On 24 August, observers cited sources close to Erdogan as saying that Turkey was not ready to buy more S-400s. This contradicted a previous Russian statement that Moscow and Turkey were on the verge of signing a deal for a second consignment of the controversial weapons system. A senior Turkish official said Russia was trying to poison Turkey's relations with the United States by releasing misleading statements.
If so, it looks like the Russians had a second go at this. In late August, Alexander Mikheyev, who heads the Russian arms export agency, Rosoboronexport, said the second batch of S-400s would soon be heading for Turkey.
The announcement reignited concerns in Turkey that Ankara was lured into a trap when it signed onto the S-400 deal, a prospect the opposition had warned of from the outset. "[W]hat many feared could now be turning out to be true. Indications are emerging that Moscow may be using the S-400 issue to apply pressure on Turkey at a time when Ankara is trying to improve its ties with the West," writes Samih Idiz in Al-Monitor of 3 September under the title, "Is Moscow using the S-400 against Turkey?"
French President Emmanuel Macron had warned Turkey, a fellow NATO member, against going through with the purchase, stressing that the S-400s are incompatible with NATO defence systems. At the time he said that members of the same defence organisation cannot go out and buy equipment that goes against interoperability nor carry out unilateral actions that conflict with the collective interests of the alliance.
Idiz cited sources close to the Turkish defence industry who denied that there was a second S-400 deal in the works. One was a defence source who told BBC Turkish: "This is a topic that can be discussed at any time, but we have no such request at this stage." Referring to talks between Ankara and Washington on cooperation in Afghanistan, the same source said, "the Russian side is either declaring its intention or trying to manipulate the cooperation we are engaged in with the United States."
President Erdogan was uncharacteristically cautious on the subject of the S-400s when reporters asked him about Mikheyev's statement during his flight home from a recent visit to Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro. "We have no hesitation about dealing with Russia on a second consignment or similar issues. We have taken many steps with Russia whether with regard to the S-400s or other defence industry matters," he told Milliyet newspaper.
As Idiz observed: "He refrained from going into details and said nothing to indicate that a deal for the delivery of more S-400s was in the pipeline and would be concluded by the end of the year."
"Analysts believe Erdogan is caught between a rock and a hard place with regard to Russia today," Idiz continues. "His vision of establishing strategic ties with Moscow to replace Ankara's seriously deteriorated ties with the West has proven to be little more than a pipe dream. Ankara has discovered over these past three years in particular that differences with Moscow and Russia over issues such as Syria, Libya, the Caucasus and Ukraine are not only insurmountable but are also sources of potential tension between the two countries if not managed carefully."
This, indeed, is the fix Erdogan currently himself in with Russia. A spate of foreign policy setbacks with disastrous results on the economy are among the reasons that Ankara has awoken to the fact that it is more dependent on the West than it had thought. It is now trying to work its way back into Western good graces, but Moscow is not making it easy.
"The once much-touted notion by Erdogan and his followers that Turkey and Russia could establish strong ties with a view to jointly opposing the West has proven to be the fallacy that it always was," Idiz writes. "Made aware of this at a time when it faces serious problems on all sides, Ankara is trying to restore its place in the Western alliance."
*A version of this article appears in print in the 16 September, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Clic here to read the story from its source.