Jul 15, 2019

Turkey receiving Russian S-400 missile system despite U.S. warnings

Turkish President Erdogan (L) with Trump at the G-20. Photo: Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Turkey has received “the first group of equipment” from a Russian S-400 air defense system despite warnings from the U.S. and other NATO allies who say the system could compromise the alliance's security.

Between the lines: "Turkey sees the balance of power shifting away from Europe and the U.S. and envisions itself as a more independent actor in a changing global order," two senior Turkish officials tell Bloomberg.

  • "Turkey’s government expects President Donald Trump to block or dilute any harsh U.S. sanctions response to the S-400 purchase, according to the officials, who are involved in planning defense and foreign policy."
  • "They also said that Turkey was too vital to U.S. security interests, and too important to Europe as a potential gateway to millions of refugees, for the West to risk forcing a complete break."

Go deeper

U.S. blocks Turkey from F-35 program despite Trump's reservations

Trump and Erdogan at a 2018 NATO summit. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The U.S. has formally announced the removal of NATO ally Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program. The move came after Turkey purchased a Russian S-400 air defense system over vocal objections from Washington.

The big picture: Wednesday's announcement is about military hardware. But it’s also a manifestation of the widening divide between Turkey, the U.S. and NATO. While this breaking point long loomed on the horizon, both U.S. and Turkish officials hoped it could be avoided.

Go deeperArrowJul 17, 2019

U.S.–Turkey ties slide further amid advanced weapons impasse

A Russian cargo aircraft delivering S-400 components to Murted Air Base in Ankara, Turkey. Photo: Rasit Aydogan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The U.S. removed Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program on Wednesday, escalating a months-long standoff over Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems.

Why it matters: Turkey is a strategic U.S. ally in the Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia and an important partner in American relations with the Muslim world. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to move forward with the S-400 purchase risks undermining NATO military coordination and exposing U.S. and broader NATO alliance capabilities to Russian intelligence.

Go deeperArrowJul 20, 2019

Ex-Michael Flynn business partner convicted for illegal foreign lobbying

Michael Flynn. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Bijan Rafiekan, a former business partner of ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn and a member of the Trump transition team, was found guilty Tuesday of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the Turkish government and lying about it to the Justice Department.

Why it matters: Rafiekan's prosecution was one of 11 cases transferred by special counsel Robert Mueller to other jurisdictions over the course of his investigation. Flynn, who has been cooperating with prosecutors since December 2017, was enlisted to testify about Rafiekan's role in hiding Flynn Intel Group's illegal lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government. The agreement fell apart earlier this month, however, as a result of a dispute between prosecutors and Flynn's new attorneys, per Politico.

Go deeperArrowJul 23, 2019