Wednesday, 21 August, 2019

West fears strong Turkey - Erdogan

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he addresses AK Party and Nationalist Movement Party supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections in Istanbul Turkey U.S. senators introduce bill to stop transfer of F-35 fighters to Turkey
Russell Knight | 29 March, 2019, 18:58

The president also said that Turkey is no longer a country that can be manipulated from the outside.

The Ankara-Moscow S-400 deal was inked in December 2017, when the parties signed a $2.5 billion agreement for two batteries of the systems, Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system.

The United States can still proceed with the trillion-dollar F-35 fighter jet program without Turkish components, USA sources said, rebuffing arguments by Ankara that excluding the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally would be too complicated. The US has warned Turkey that it could suspend the delivery of F-35 jets to the country over fears that S-400 radars could expose the planes' weaknesses, despite Turkey producing some of the fighter's parts.

The Turkish banking association denied the reports in a statement to Reuters, saying lira swap rates were not surging due to banks withholding liquidity from foreign banks, rather because there was not enough lira for foreign banks to buy dollars, and that Turkey had shown the necessary stance against a speculative attack on the lira. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in December that the US can not unilaterally cancel Turkey's participation.

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"The elections will be a tough test for Erdogan's leadership and there may be major consequences for his alliance and the country", said Mehmet Onur Cevik, an expert on Turkey at Vocal Europe, a think tank in Brussels. "I'm certain, it will go back to one digit", he said.

The first Russian S-400 delivery is expected in July. For example, the center fuselage produced in Ankara could be made by Northrop Grumman Corp, which already makes them in California. "I personally believe that it will not create drastic delays and cost overruns", he said.

Turkey has said it plans to buy a total of 100 aircraft over the years.

U.S. senators have introduced a bipartisan bill to stop transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey amid a major rift between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over Ankara's purchase of Russia's S-400 missile defence systems.

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