The Turkish Defense Ministry has confirmed that the first part of a Russian S-400 missile defense system has arrived in the capital city of Ankara. The Turkish government purchased this new defense system over express opposition from the United States, who say that the S-400 system is incompatible with other NATO defenses in the region. Turkey has a considerable stake in U.S. F-35 fighters but has been pursuing a foreign policy that is distancing the country from the U.S. and the European Union.
The U.S. State Department threatened to cut Turkey from the F-35 program, and impose sanctions if the S-400 deal went through, however, following a call with President Trump, President Tayyip Erdogan said that he was confident the United States wouldn’t follow through on sanctions. The U.S. has followed through on threats to remove Turkey from the F-35 program, halting deliveries to Turkey and removing Turkish pilots from the U.S. flight training program.
Turkey has the second-largest army in NATO and has been a strategic ally for all NATO nations, due to its position neighboring Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Turkey’s membership in NATO has been under contest by many European Nations, who say Erdogan has adopted an increasingly authoritarian government following a coup in 2016. President Erdogan has been warming up to help from Russia and other countries in opposition to NATO while degrading relations with countries inside NATO.