Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands at a joint news conference in Syria after their meeting in Sochi, Russia.
Mikhail Metzel | TASS | Pictures of Getty
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump's Wednesday meeting of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan comes as two NATO allies navigate some dark national security issues. northern Syria, following Trump's decision to withdraw US forces from the area, another US-Turkey dustup has flown under the radar. And it involves a weapon contact with Russia.
The US could punish Turkey for buying Russia's S-400, a mobile miss-to-air missile system that is said to pose a threat to the NATO alliance as well as most of America. expensive weapon system: Lockheed Martin's F-35 jet.
But Turkey withdrew its potential sanctions, and Trump himself was sympathetic to Erdogan's decision. In July, Trump said he could not blame Turkey for the purchase of the S-400, a move that resulted in NATO's declining participation in the F-35 program.
"I do not blame Turkey for many incidents and many … problems that occurred during the Obama administration," the president said at the time. "These dates go back to the Obama administration, which was a disaster."
Read more: Turkey continues to deal with Russia's missile system despite US and NATO warnings
And then Trump failed to explain whether he will impose sanctions on Turkey for doing business with the Kremlin. Under the Counting America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act, signed by the president in August 2017, Turkey could face economic sanctions for buying a Russian-made missile system.
"It's a tough situation. They get the S-400 and our statues and everything else – while you do that, you can't just order this equipment," Trump said. "And generally speaking, you can't order the duration of the equipment."
Turbulent Turkish arms deal with the Kremlin
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin in April.
Adem Altan | AFP | Photos of Getty
In 2017, Ankara awarded a deal worth $ 2.5 billion with the Kremlin for the S-400 despite warnings from the US that the purchase of the system would come to light political and economic consequences.
The S-400, the S-400, is the successor to the S-200 and S-300 missile systems, which debuted in 2007. Compared to US systems, the Russian-made S-400 is believed to be has the ability to engage a wider range of targets, in longer ranges and against multiple threats at once.
In an effort to prevent Turkey from buying the S-400, the State Department offered in 2013 and 2017 to sell the country Patriot missile system Raytheon. Ankara has gone through the Patriot twice since the US refused to provide a transfer of the system's sensitive missile technology.
Meanwhile, Turkey has become a financial and manufacturing partner in Lockheed Martin's F-35 jet, the world's most advanced fighter.
An S-400 air surface rail system.
Sergei Malgavko | The TASS by Getty Images
Just as Ankara's inevitable acceptance of the S-400 has been fruitful, the Pentagon has announced that it will begin to "dislike" Turkey's participation in the F-35 program.
Last month, the head of Turkey's Pentagon acquisition regained removal from a massive weapons program.
"There is no change to bring Turkey back to the F-35 program. The S-400 air defense system, incompatible with the F-35, remains in Turkey," Ellen Lord, under the Defense Defense in support and support, reporters told the Pentagon.
"As I said before, Turkey produces about 1,000 parts for the F-35 and will continue to do so until the responsibility of Turkey's F-35 supply chain. "he added.
After forcing his country out of a multinational weapons program, Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and attended an annual Russian air show in Moscow. Following an August visit, Erdogan expressed interest in buying the Kremlin's Su-35 fighter jet.