(ConservativeInsider.org) – Growing tensions with Turkey have been difficult to manage over the past few months. As a NATO ally that houses critical US military bases in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Trump Administration must walk a fine line dealing with any challenges from President Erdogan.
Unfortunately, the situation just became more complicated. A recent report shows Turkey may have activated a Russian Missile Defense System that could endanger NATO pilots.
The S-400 Missile System
Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told listeners that US analysts have “very credible reports” Turkey began using an S-400 anti-aircraft system in late August. This missile system, when activated, can provide intelligence and data to the maker, which, in this case, is Russia. It’s also believed to have targeted US-made F-16 Fighting Falcon jets.
This activation is likely in response to joint military exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean by NATO allies Greece, Italy, Cyprus, and France. The countries currently disagree with Erdogan’s claim to energy-rich waters in the region.
Getting Serious With Turkish Threats
As Turkey begins to stray from the path of friendship with America, many US lawmakers are speaking out. House Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) made his opinion clear:
In the past year, Erdogan’s Turkey has:
☑️ Aided and abetted Azerbaijan’s deadly attacks on Artsakh with foreign fighters
☑️ Endangered our troops in Syria
☑️ Cozied up to Iran
☑️ Installed Russian S400 missiles
What kind of an ally does this? Time to get tough with Turkey.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) October 7, 2020
Senator James Lankford (R-OK) paired up with Sen. Van Hollen (D-MD) to deliver a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:
Reports of Turkey activating the radars of its Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system is alarming, which is why sanctions for their initial purchase need to be implemented. President Erdogan continues to be emboldened by our delays on these sanctions and the supply chain transition. pic.twitter.com/e2pBlDuUY6
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) October 7, 2020
What Has the US Done so Far?
When Turkey first purchased the S-400 system from Russia, the Trump administration ousted Turkey from the cutting-edge F-35 joint fighter program. However, this has proven to not be enough to keep the country in check.
As the US begins to distance itself from Turkey, there’s still much to be done. The country is still providing components of the F-35 jets, which are in high demand. Multiple countries have requested them, including the US:
As we stand here just a short drive from Luke Air Force Base, I’m proud to report that President @realDonaldTrump signed the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan! Nearly 500 new F-35 fighter jets are on the way! pic.twitter.com/3axkVDSzad
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) October 8, 2020
There are many US-Turkey business contracts in full swing as well. According to Bloomberg News, a full and formal break with Turkey may not happen until 2022.
Turkey has been a NATO ally since 1952 and a vital partner in US Security. However, with its most recent bold moves challenging the US’ presence in the region, the tides may be changing.
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