In the clearest sign of his pivot toward Russia and away from NATO and the West, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Tuesday that Turkey had signed a deal to purchase a Russian surface-to-air missile system.
The deal cements a recent rapprochement with Russia, despite differences over the war in Syria, and comes as Turkey’s ties with the United States and European Union have become strained.
It is certain to stir unease in Washington and Brussels, where officials are trying to keep Turkey — a longtime NATO member, and an increasingly unlikely candidate for European Union membership — from entering Russia’s sphere of influence.
The deal comes as relations between Russia and the West are at a particularly low point. Tensions escalated in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea and then began fomenting armed revolt in eastern Ukraine. They have grown still worse as evidence has mounted that Moscow was behind the hacking of the 2016 election in the United States and also tried to interfere in other nations’ elections.
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Featured image courtesy of TASS