Ever since the failed military coup of 2016, Turkeys actions on both the world stage and within the Middle East continue to get more sporadic by the day. Despite owning the second largest army in the NATO alliance, an alliance primarily formulated to protect Western allies against “Russian Aggression,” Turkey only continues to strengthen their relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, both economically and militaristically.
As reported by Middle East Eye on July 14th 2017, “Turkey has agreed to purchase as many as four S-400 missile defence systems from Russia for $2.5bn.” Going on to add “Russia will send two S-400s to Turkey next year with plans to build another two inside Turkey” and that it would “mark the first time that Turkey has bought high-tech military equipment from Russia since an arms agreement was made after the fall of the Soviet Union.”
— RealClearDefense (@RCDefense) July 14, 2017
Nearly one year to the day after the failed military coup of July 15th 2016, Turkey still maintains that the American CIA and Muhammed Fethullah Gülen are to blame. To this day, despite multiple requests to hand over Gulen to Turkish authorities, the United States continues to protect Gulen by granting him political asylum. Indubitably, this has continued to drive a wedge between the two countries, ultimately leading in part to Turkey’s deal with Russia this week.
Over the course of the past year, not only has Turkey began directly coordinating military campaigns with Russia more closely, but Turkey is also starting to target US backed forces in the region, namely the Kurds in Iraq and Syria. Considering that the US has been shipping the Kurds records amounts of weapons and artillery under Donald Trump, it is more likely than not that Turkey’s purchase this week is meant to defend against the threat of a future Kurdish attack upon their country.
Outside of military interests, Turkey has also made international headlines over recent months by drafting new new oil and natural gas pipeline contracts with China, Russia and Iran. Each move seemingly separating the country further away from the shared interests of some of the countries more traditional allies.