Ahmet Han: "If Turkey’s relations with U.S. deteriorate, then its relations with Russia to improve"
Speculations about Turkey's possible refusal to buy Russian S-400 systems under U.S. pressure are being actively fueled. However, Moscow claims that the contract to supply the Triumph S-400 air defense missile systems to Turkey is underway, being implemented as scheduled and will be completed before the end of the year. On the sidelines of the International Winter School in Istanbul, organized by BILGESAM, Altinbas University professor Ahmet Han answered Vestnik Kavkaza's questions about Turkey’s position on Russia's S-400 and U.S.'s Patriot systems, as well as the Russian-Turkish and U.S.-Turkish relations in general.
- How do you think the story with the U.S. protest regarding Ankara's purchase of S-400 will end?
- S-400 may become a decisive topic in Turkey-U.S. relations. That is why it is interesting to observe the situation. I am sure that Russia will be very pleased to supply weapons to Turkey, next deliveries are planned for July 2019, sooner than previously expected. However, the Americans are trying to offer Turkey practically everything in which it is interested in order to force it to drop a deal. Nevertheless, Turkey cannot refuse its contractual obligations to Russia. Most likely, these systems will be acquired. But where they will be placed, and how the relations will develop - so far it's hard to answer this question.
- What trends in Russia-Turkey relations can be expected in the near future?
- It’s not just about Russia-Turkey bilateral relations between Russia and Turkey, but also about the Turkish-U.S. bilateral relations, and their influence on Russian-Turkish contacts. If Turkey-U.S. relations deteriorate, then, most likely, Turkey-Russia relations will improve. For the moment, I cannot say that Russian-Turkish relations have a structural base that exists in Turkish-U.S. relations. Turkey and the United States are NATO members, they have established bilateral cooperation at the level of various institutions; the U.S. presence in Turkey is much stronger than Russia's one. Nevertheless, Ankara and Washington cannot reach agreement on a very important for Turkey issue - the Syrian issue, while Russia and Turkey are working on this issue together, which contributes positively to their relationship.