Jul 13 2019

Erdoğan risks lasting damage to Turkey’s economy with S-400 purchase - Bloomberg

The combination of U.S. sanctions and lost market confidence in the independence of central bank will test whether the mid-size military power of Turkey will succeed alone in an emerging multipolar world, wrote Marc Champion and Selcan Hacaoğlu in Bloomberg.

The first shipment of the Russian-made S-400 air defence missile system arrived in Ankara on Friday, in a move that sets up a potential face-off between Washington and Ankara.

U.S. officials have repeatedly stated the S-400 is a threat to U.S. military systems and threatened to levy sanctions against Turkey and expel it from the F-35 stealth fighter jet programme should Ankara go through with the purchase. 

By taking delivery of Russian air-defence systems, the article said, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has crossed a political line, risking lasting damage to his country's economy and relationship with the West.

The Bloomberg article underlined that Ankara expects U.S. President Donald Trump to block or dilute any harsh sanctions response to the purchase, while maintaining that Turkey is ‘’too vital to U.S. security interests, and too important to Europe as a potential gateway to millions of refugees, for the West to risk forcing a complete break.’’

Champion and Hacaoğlu pointed to Erdoğan’s firing of Turkey's central bank governor on July 6, citing the bank as the reason for the economy's weakness as it refused to lower interest rates, as a significant gamble in his bid to free the country from the ‘’tyranny of global financial market.’’

‘’The short-lived dip in the lira after Erdoğan's firing of central bank governor Murat Cetinkaya suggests investors agree that U.S. responses to the S-400 purchase will be muted,’’ the article said.

However, at the very least, the two wrote, the delivery of Russian missiles is likely to throw Turkey's participation in the joint strike fighter program into crisis.

Turkey is a key producer of the manufacturing parts of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme, which is the world’s most expensive arms project to date. Ankara has already spent $1.5 billion on the programme.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-12/as-russian-missiles-arrive-in-turkey-erdogan-crosses-a-rubicon