DEFYING NATO: Turkey is interested in other Russian weapons besides the S-400

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MOSCOW – The chief executive of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Aleksandr Mikheev, has revealed Turkish interest in other Russian weapons in addition to the S-400 air defense systems, according to the Rosoboronexport press office, quoting the words of the chief executive from the company.

Mikheev added that the two countries also have several joint ventures to develop new fighter jets and helicopters, armored vehicle modules and equipment maintenance, previously sold to Ankara.

He further underlined that, thanks to the “constructive dialogue between political leaders”, Russia and Turkey were able to counter attempts by foreign rivals to meddle in bilateral military cooperation.

The contract for Turkey to acquire Russian air defense systems has been vehemently contested by Washington, which is trying to persuade Ankara to abandon it, even threatening the country with sanctions and cancellation of the sale of F-35 fighters.

Rosoboronexport has previously reacted to reports that Turkey may be interested in buying Russian fighters instead of F-35s, saying Moscow is ready to discuss such acquisitions with Ankara.

Turkey has struggled to get F-35 fighters ordered since Ankara has signed a contract with Moscow to purchase Russian S-400 systems. US officials fear that the technology of their fighters will somehow end up in the hands of the Russians.

US Senator Bob Menendez said last week that the US would impose sanctions on Turkey and would cancel supply of fifth-generation F-35 fighters if it bought the S-400s.

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The director of the Center for Political and Military Research at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and Doctor of History Aleksei Podberezkin commented on the situation.

“I do not think the US decides to impose economic or financial sanctions on Turkey, but they, I think, can actually limit their military cooperation with Turkey as a warning. As for Turkey’s possible reaction, I think a big role here would be played by the subjective factor,” said the analyst.

Aleksei Podberezkin stressed that the Turkish president is a very hard politician, and for him it is very important the personal attitude towards him, so it is unlikely that he will make concessions.

The Russian analyst considers the S-400 to be very important for Turkey. This is a matter of sovereignty of the country.

“Air defense systems […] are not just a type of weaponry, they are synonymous with the security of the country,” Aleksei Podberezkin explained. “The possession of such systems means, in fact, total political and military sovereignty.”

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