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Aaron Stein
This is going to be a long one. <thread> A primer on Turkish air and missile defense, given the S-400 kerfuffle and the constant noise about a lack of American interest in selling Patriot
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Depending on how/when you look back, Turkish interest in missile defense came after War of Cities in Middle East in 1980s and, more prominently, after Gulf War I (mixture of threat assessment and technology maturing that allowed for BMD)
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Patriot, at that time (1990s), was Turkey’s missile of choice, but they also flirted with Israel for Arrow (Late 1990s into early 2000s). Economic downturn scuttled earlier talks between US-IR-TR around 2001ish.
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Despite these economic troubles, Ankara remained interest in missile defense. Why? The growing salience of ballistic missile in teh Middle combined with growing concerns about WMD, particularly in Iraq, Iran, and Syria
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Specifically, in 1998, Syria threatened Turkey with missile strikes during Ocalan stand-off, had/has a CW program. To top it off, in 2005 fragments from a Syrian Scud-D test landed in Turkey (foreshadowing what would happen in 2012)
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Before we get to post 2011. In 2007, current government revisited air and missile defense, with the SSM later issuing an RFI for air and missile defense in a project that would later be dubbed T-LORAMIDS
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Between 2008-2010, firms decided whether to submit a bud. The first entrants for the RfI were the US (Lockheed and Raytheon) for Patriot and Europe (MBDA) for Samp-T
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
The US proposal at this time - given the current tumult - is worthy of more study. First, around the same time, NATO was debating the EPAA, the US backed European missile defense system (which TR supports with a TPY/2 radar deployment in Kurecik)
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
During NATO talks, Turkey was sorta an irritant, first because they didn’t want to single Iran out as threat to the Alliance (quite correct if I may add), and second, TR wanted full territorial coverage for a system that Ankara argued would make it a target
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
This is legitimate: Per the NAS study on European missile defense against Iranian missile attack,
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Also noteworthy is the NAS solution for Turkey’s full territorial coverage issue (in addition to the other EPAA SM-3 based elements):
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Which brings us back to T-LORAMIDS and the US LoA. If one reads between the lines one can infer that the proposal is built around “full territorial coverage”, and not point defense of single sites (when acting alongside EPAA)
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
What changes? Ankara shocks the world and chooses the Chinese made HQ-9 as the winner for T-LORAMIDS. This sparks push back, as one sees today, against the system in Turkey. It also suggests that Ankara will cede the territorial coverage argument if it gets tech transfer
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
The tone and tenor of that conversation was different, first, because Russia had not invaded Crimea and, two, F-35 was still a ways away from delivery.
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Tangent alert: Speaking of F-35, Turkey is a consortium member, not a “purchaser” per se, but a Tier 3 member of joint strike fighter project.
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
As part of this, Turkey signed an MoU, which stipulated certain data security agreement that, I believe, are the authority DoD will use to block transfer (Congress is a cudgel to force DoD more than anything else)
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Back to air and missile defense: US and allied pressure forced an about face on HQ-9, leading to more direct, bilateral Turkish talks with different suppliers
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
These talks included continued outreach to US firms Lockheed and Raytheon and Europe’s MBDA. Russia’s previous T-LORAMIDS bid for either the S-300 or S-400, depending on which source you use, was considered the worst the 1st time around by Turkish decision makers.
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Syria obviously goes south in 2011, with tensions between Assad and Ankara heating up in 2012, leading to NATO deployment of Patriot in Turkey for point defense (remember, that is what Patriot is. Point defense)
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
It is true, the US and Germany rotated out Patriot and word leaked (German parliamentary debate) before Ankara was notified. That was a low point. But other NATO members have Patriot and/or SAMP-T deployed in Turkey to this day
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
One other thing before we pivot to the current crisis, Russia’s intervention in Syria was worrisome in Turkey. We had the jet shutdown in November 2015 that shook Turkey. Also the little remembered Syrian downing of the F-4
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Which brings us to the current crisis: The downturn in US-TR relations are many, but for simplicity stem from the failure of T&E to close the Manbij Pocket. This failed effort led to the SDF push east of the river and, following this, the direct arming of YPG (yes there is more)
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
As Turkey prepared to intervene on its own, a coup attempt took place. Shortly before, Russia had knuckled Turkey under and defeated its proxies in Syria (really a good example of a larger power defeating a middle power)
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
The Russian defeat of Turkey prompted a shift in policy, resulting in Russia being an enabler of Turkish efforts to defeat the YPG/SDF/push Syrian refugees back into safe zones (political consideration/economic)
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
As an outgrowth of these pol-pol/pol-mil ties, we got S-400. A system that doesnt solve the issues raised in NAS report listed above, and therefore not really comparable to the past decision-making calculus.
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Concurrent to this, and in a rather odd way that suggests policy dysfunction, TR and MBDA also agreed to a study for air and missile defense on the eve of a NATO summit (clearly some political timing as well)
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
Nested within this descent we had le affaire Brunson, which obviously soured the mood in Congress — complicating defense exports. Also have to mention the fight at Sheridan Circle. Obviously on TR side we have Gulen.
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
The Dec. 2017 announcement of the S-400 deal immediately prompted discussions in DC about CAATSA, legislation written b/c Congress fears Trump’s ties to Russia, rather than to target Turkey. But Turkey becomes the poster child b/c of the deepening coop with Russia on S-400
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
The first direct US - TR interaction on CAATSA and S-400 was the BEFORE the first agreement with Russia was signed in December 2017. It is not true that the US warnings were late. Warnings have become public and more pointed. But they have been around since before S400
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
The opacity surrounding the payment for S-400 and poor US messaging on interoperability dominated the early public messaging on S-400. S-400 can be “plugged” in to TR air defense networks. And missile defense assets dont “talk" to each other (or at least very rarely)
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Aaron Stein Apr 3
Replying to @aaronstein1
The IFF issues are even slightly overblown. IFF interrogation matters w/in the S-400 context, as does questions about the shoot/ID matrix for a Russian and US system, but these can be managed. Interoperable is a political word for the allies.
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