The Trump administration last Friday expressed dissatisfaction with Turkey for beefing up with Russian-made S-400 missiles that violated its NATO membership.
It is a sign that Ankara is pivoting towards Russia, and it affects its status as one of the oldest members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
It severely affects the dynamic of the NATO alliance when Turkey embraced a defense system produced by Russia. This is an unprecedented move by Ankara in adopting a weapon system from Russia.
According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who verified that Turkey would use the Russian surface to air missiles (SAMS), complaints from the U.S. do not matter. They will not be asking its permission either, reported Real and Clear Defense.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) condemned the October 16 trial of the Russian missile system, said Jonathan Hoffman, a Pentagon spokesman. He stressed that the Pentagon is against the use of Russian equipment. As a NATO ally, this is contradictory to its status.
Sources said that the U.S. State Department called the Turkey missile test as untoward and might affect Turkey's status in the future.
State department official spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said that the Russian missile system should not be in operation. Turkey activating and discounting its security relationship will have serious ramifications.
Months before Ankara fired the system, they've been warned by the American government. It carries the threat of serious sanctions like Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act should the warning not be followed.
One of the concerns is that the Russian missile system can be used to gather intel on the F-35 stealth fighter jet. Washington is afraid that Russia can get its hands on the information via Erdogan, who will use it as a bargaining chip.
Washington and NATO countries frown on getting equipment from Russian sources. Furthermore, Turkey's move to use it is a gross violation on its part.
Turkey used to be part of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program before purchasing the S-400 missiles that got them booted out for the violation. Ankara was part of the program, making parts for the 5th generation plane. About 100 of the planes were their quota that can be availed.
The U.S. administration was amenable if the Turks did not use the Russian SAM. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is decided on using it though.
Erdogan on Friday said that they are determined to decide independent of the U.S. and NATO partners.
One of Turkey's shortcoming is in air defense that the S-400 will improve significantly. Countries around Turkey like Syria, Iraq, and Iran are always involved in border troubles.
One of the reasons that Turkey decided on getting the the Russian anti-air system was because the U.S. did not allow the sale of the Patriot missiles made in the USA.
One of the reasons why Russia was a better deal is because of joint production and the transfer of technology. This is different from the Patriot missile system and to reach self-independence. From the onset of the sale of the U.S. missiles, technology transfer was insisted. American weapon firms do not want to transfer tech due to national security.
The Trump administration's dissatisfaction with Turkey's move was ill-timed as both countries do not see things the same.
Related article: F-16s Are the Targets for S-400 Missiles in Turkey