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06 July 2019


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What is most interesting to me, is that the Russian air force is actually pounding Turkey's militant allies on the ground in Idlib, but both men (Erdogan and Putin) are still strengthening their ties thru Turkstream, Russian tourism and building of a nuclear power plant. Diplomacy seems to have surpassed conditions on the ground in Syria.

Also, Iran's leaders feel slightly betrayed by Putin's deference to Erdogan. They must believe (as I do) that Putin has agreed to allow Turkey to occupy parts of Syria following the war.

Turkey has been very consistent on this issue from the very beginning...and it has plans to resettle parts of N Syria with the nearly 3 million refugees it is housing in S Turkey.

Many critics will blame Putin for betraying Assad, but I think he is merely showing that he is a master negotiator who recognizes the importance of 'good' relations with Turkey, and knows he will not get everything he wants in Syria. Compromise with Turkey opens up a path to ending the war and for pressuring US-Turkey relations which continue to worsen as Washington continues to support a de facto Kurdistan in E Syria.


Buying S400 and losing F35 is a win win.
Letting a committee design an aicraft instead of aerospace engineers is a bad idea.Pentagon should cut their loss much like with the Zumwalt program.

Barbara Ann

M K Bhadrakumar is a great source for following the frenetic pace of developments in Eurasian geopolitics and he covered this very topic yesterday (see link).

His view of where the Trump administration currently sees Turkey is essentially as a lever in relation to Iran. He suspects Erdo & Trump have a deal since the G20 whereby S-400 sanctions may be held in abeyance, in return for Turkey's acquiescence to, or even assistance with the maximum pressure campaign.

Whilst S-400 delivery is contrary to US/NATO wishes/policy, it makes sense to me that it gets treated as a second order issue in this context. Turkey also wants Iran out of Syria, but if pushed even further into a corner Turkey could make life difficult for the US on Iran and therefore even potentially endanger Trump's re-election chances.

Erdogan is still in the regime-changers' sights, under siege in all areas and consequently in a very weak position. I think those forecasting a full-scale defection into Russia's orbit misunderstand the realities of the maximum pressure campaign on Turkey itself and much further it can be pushed if need be. IMO it is more likely NATO will eventually welcome the reluctant black sheep back into the fold.

The slippery Sultan has pushed it to the limit, but the anti-Iran coalition now needs him - at least in the short term. My guess is he gets to keep his shiny new AD system. Where Turkey chooses to put it is a very interesting question; facing its ancient enemy in the West, or perhaps sited to cover the Cyprus EEZ and its oil?



Re. 2 and possibly 5.
Does anyone understand the F35 deal between the participating partner nations.
Wikipedia say Turkey is a level 3 partner which cost it $4.3 billion and that sales are handled via the Pentagon. Who decides if a partner in the project can be denied the right to buy their product? What I did not see is what F35 components were produced in Turkey and if they stopped exports what redundancy their was in the system.
Can Turkey say fine I will take my $4.3 billion back as the Russians and Chinese have both made me very attractive offers?

Eugene Owens

Regarding #1 and #2: S-400 is already in Algeria. And it will be in India by next year. Reuters claims that Trump's good buddy King Salman signed a deal with Russia to buy S-400s. Reuters also reported that Qatar was considering an S-400 purchase. So why is Pom-Pom only jumping on Turkey's back and not castigating the Saudis, Qataris, Algeriens, and Indians about the S-400? Keeping F-35 stealth capability from snooping by S-400s is the stated reason we don't want Turkey to have the S-400. But when carrier based F35s are flying in the eastern Med, that stealth capability could be snooped on by the Algerien systems (or by Russian "field service reps" in Algeria with those systems). Ditto for the F35s in Italy. Could Israeli F35 stealth already be jeopardized by Russian system at Khmeimim AB in Syria?

#3 Idiots. But they are being used by Trump. He puts them up to it, so that he can pull back at the last minute and be Mr World Peace.

#4: State owned Rossiya TV lampooned Trump's Fourth of July celebration. Called it фигня (pronounced as 'fignya' and translates as bullshit). They mocked the tanks on display, said “the paint on these vehicles is peeling off. They have no cannons, and the optics were pasted on with adhesive tape”. Host Yevgeny Popov called the President "our Donald Trump". Co-host Olga Skabeeva calls the parade "Putin's America".

#5: See #3

#6 & 7: I was hoping #6 would stall #7, but I have serious doubts.


Regarding the F35 and the S400, the obvious thing to do is to let them have both and swap information. We get S400 info and Russia gets F35 data.......except erdo will try and screw both of us.

The Twisted Genius

I believe Putin's goal is to transform Turkey from a NATO state into an integral part of Russia's near abroad to eventually secure a guaranteed access to the Mediterranean and beyond and have a reliable buffer between Russia and Middle East. It's ensuring peace of mind, not rebuilding an empire.



Is the S-400 in Algeria already? I have found reports that it was scheduled to be delivered in 2015 - but I can't find any reports on it actually being delivered. I don't think the Russians would have sold it to anyone other than Belarus and China until they had the S-500 ready to go.



I think Putin's goal is more about forming a partnership with Turkey to build an energy corridor through Turkey to Europe. Control of this corridor, or at least membership in the alliance that controls this corridor, is a big deal from a geopolitical standpoint. Thus Russia and Turkey can form something along the lines of an "OPEC on steroids" - Turkey can control who gets to pipe hydrocarbons to Europe and Russia can provide protection to those who wish to join their alliance (as they have already done for Syria).

Any energy corridor that goes from the Persian Gulf to Europe has to pass through Turkey and also has to pass through either Syria or Iraq. The fact that Syria and Iraq are now effectively in Russia's sphere of influence makes a Turkish-Russian alliance make all the more sense.

What Turkey has to gain from such an arrangement is not only transit fees for the hydrocarbons, but also a chance to develop their economy - if Turkey is at the head of the line for receipt of hydrocarbons to Europe, they are at the head of the line for building industry and businesses which use those hydrocarbons as inputs (eg refineries, plastics, aluminum, chemical production).


Turkey is going to get their $4.3 billion dollars back at about the same time that Iran gets all of its money back, and Venezuela gets its gold back from the Bank of England - that is to say, never. As soon as Turkey asks for its money back, the US govt will impose sanctions on Turkey and that will be that.


Access to the Med is already guaranteed by treaty just as is access to the Black Sea. Access beyond the Med is controlled at the Suez and the pillars of Hercules.

John Minehan

The two overlap in the Russian mind.


Until you fix the problem with, according to a poll, 56% of American parents not wanting Arabic numerals taught to their children. I suspect that an equal number would not be able to find any of the mentioned places on a map.

Where those with crystal balls find certainty, I find something much less. We do know that containment polices can work very well, but any involvement in the world's longest contested area is not worth the cost, nor the risk. The US has already spent a fortune, with very little to show for it.

Maybe it is all about learning?

Ghost Ship


Does Erdogan want to be left to look after all those murderous pissed-off foreign jihadists after the Syrian government wins? Nah, Erdogan is quite happy for Putin to kill them all and get rid of Erdogan's problem.

After quite a bit of fighting, the SAA is still only operating the meat grinders in Latakia and Hama. Is this to keep Washington quiet? Might it be better for the jihadists if they conducted a strategic withdrawal from Latakia and Hama so that the SAA would be drawn into Idlib which might require a response from Washington


Erdogan unexpectedly fired the Central Bank Governor. Turkey is the canary in the mine for Europe. The shaking apart of the nation state is due the Muslim Holy War next door from his attempt to build a new Ottoman Empire plus using debt to grow the economy until it stops and collapses. Iran, Hezbollah and Russia saved the Syrian government. The Levant’s radical Sunnis have been corralled into Idlib Province. A Shiite government controls Iraq.

USA, Saudi Arabia and Israel unleased the hounds of war and they have run wild. Turkey is in the back flash. The adverse effects of the wars for profit and the burgeoning debt has been hidden here by the Dollar’s status as the world currency. Still inequality exploded. Homelessness, a dying middle class, tribalism, and lower life expectancy is impacting both the USA and UK. Boarding a Panamanian oil tanker in Gibraltar Strait bound for Syria by UK forces at America’s request is playing with fire. The ethnic chaos intentional ignited decades ago in the Middle East is spreading West.


The proper way to frame the F-35 program is that it is 3 nearly separate aircraft, with perhaps 20% commonality, mostly around the cockpit. Hard to believe that any one in Congress was fooled into thinking it was just different service markings on each model. That being said, it was still accquisition malpractice.

There will be about 500 in service by the end of 2019. Way too late to shut the barn door. I am going to wait to hear the pilot community speak before I render a thumbs up or down.

The Twisted Genius

If I was Putin, I would not be comfortable with the prospect of the US potentially blocking or impeding Russian use of the Dardanelles with a NATO compliant Turkey, treaty or not. Remember, we are currently not agreement capable.

The Twisted Genius

None of that is incompatible with a Russian goal of bringing Turkey into the near abroad. It is not a formal treaty organization. It does not rely on conquest or intimidation. Although Russia is capable of yielding a powerful stick against Turkey, she prefers to offer carrots to reach this goal.



"The US has already spent a fortune, with very little to show for it."

We could always get rid of the Departmet of Education. We got along much better without it.

Mark Logan

Reports from several months ago indicate the S-400 was cheaper than the Patriot, more mobile, and Russia was willing to share the technology and the US wasn't. Could be the S-400 being a better deal value factored in there somewhere. Putin? He's a businessman too.

Yosemite Sam Bolton is probably being told to go out there and do his thing, and suffering from whip-lash when Trump yanks the carpet out from under them without apology. The poor dear must be like...


Eugene Owens

James -

Wiki says yes but their references to it are speculative.

Besides those there is a Business Insider article, German Edition, which claims Algeria has the S-400. It was dated last November.

Plus there is a report on Sputnik re S-400 in Algeria. But that is based on a MENAdefense.net article, which has photos (irrefutable they claim??) of several S-400 launchers in Algeria. Plus BAZ-64022 truck-tractors which are used with the S-400 and NOT the S-300. So maybe they do and are trying to hide the fact in order to avoid sanctions? Or maybe they have upgraded their S-300 PMU-2s to the PMU-3, which is a close match to the S-400. Or perhaps it is all propaganda?

Eugene Owens

CK -

Guaranteed during peacetime. During any hostilities you can throw that treaty out the window.

Which is why TTG is correct that Putin's goal is to get Turkey out of NATO. And he may doublecross Assad by blessing Turkey's permanent occupation (or annexation) of those four districts of northern Aleppo Province (i.e. Afrin, Azaz, al-Bab, & Jarabulus). As payment for getting out of NATO.

Eugene Owens

JJackson -

I thought Turkey had so far only invested one billion plus to manufacture F-35 components. Plus whatever they had to pay for the four, or is it two, F-35's they already received (per Wiki).

The lawsuit they are threatening is in regard to that claimed one billion $ plus investment for manufacturing components. Which components they are manufacturing I have no clue.


Those 'arabic' numerals are actually Indian. The numerals including the decimal point and zero were invented in India and used for a few hundred, possibly a few thousand years before the Arabs got it and transferred it to Europe during the middle ages. Maybe the Americans who don't like it can rename it to Hindu numerals that it was originally named ss by the Italians.


Oil comes out of iran via Kurdistan. Is there evidence this flow is impaired?

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