WASHINGTON, March 19 – The United States has informally suggested that Turkey to send its Russian made S-400 missile defense systems to Ukraine to help fight Russian invading troops, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
U.S. officials submitted the proposal last month to their Turkish counterparts but no direct or official request was made, sources told Reuters. They said it reappeared briefly when Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visited Turkey earlier this month.
Biden officials have been asking their allies who used Russian-made tools and systems including the S-300 and S-400 to consider transferring them to Ukraine as they try to stop the Russian invasion that began in Feb. 24. learn more
The idea, which analysts say will surely be rejected by Turkey, was part of a broader discussion between Sherman and Turkish officials about how the United States and its allies can do more to support Ukraine and how to improve bilateral relations.
Turkish authorities have not yet commented on any US proposal or proposal related to the Ukrainian transfer of Ankara’s S-400 plans, which has been a long-standing point between the two NATO allies.
Turkish Foreign Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.
Turkish sources and analysts say that any such proposal will not start in Turkey, citing issues ranging from technical theories related to the installation and use of S-400s in Ukraine, to political issues such as Ankara’s possible return from Moscow.
Washington has repeatedly asked Ankara to dump Russian-to-air missile batteries since its first delivery arrived in July 2019. The United States imposes sanctions on Turkey’s defense industry and removes NATO member Turkey from F-35 the fighter jet system as a result.
Ankara said it was forced to choose S-400s because the allies did not supply weapons on satisfactory conditions.
U.S. officials are determined to take this moment to get Turkey back on the Washington route. Efforts to find “creative” ways to develop difficult relationships have grown exponentially in recent weeks, although no specific proposal has gained momentum so far, U.S. sources said. and Turkey.
“I think everyone knows that the S-400 was a long story and maybe this is the time when we can find a new way to solve this problem,” Sherman told Turkish broadcaster Haberturk in an interview on March 5.
It is unclear what he meant and the State Department has not yet responded to questions about his comments. The White House did not respond to a request for comment regarding a proposal made during his visit to Turkey.
The effort is also part of Biden’s comprehensive request to respond to a request by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to help protect the Ukrainian airspace. Air defense systems developed in Russia or the Soviet Union such as the S-300 other NATO allies and the S-400 demanded.
A source familiar with US thinking said Washington’s float was likely due to a renewed effort to improve relations at a time when Ankara was being disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Turkish President Erdogan had not received any information from Russian President Vladimir Putin about his plans for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a source close to the talks said.
Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and has good relations with both. He said the attack was unacceptable and expressed support for Ukraine, but also opposed sanctions in Moscow while demanding mediation.
Ankara has carefully developed its anti-Moscow rhetoric, say analysts, in which it has close ties to power, defense and tourism. But Ankara also sold military drones in Kyiv and signed an additional production agreement, which angered the Kremlin. Turkey also opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya, as well as its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
“Turkey has been able to move on the edge of the net and the transfer of the Russian S-400 will lead to a major outrage of Russia,” said Aaron Stein, research director at the Philadelphia-Foreign Policy Research Institute. “And for Erdogan, the S-400 has become a symbol of Turkish monarchy, so selling it won’t be all roses and flowers.”