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How 2016 coup attempt led Turkey to buy Russian air defenses

Turkey’s purchase of Russian air defense systems comes as part of Ankara’s efforts to obtain security and reassurance from Russia against the United States, which, it believes, was behind the 2016 coup attempt.
Policemen stand atop military armored vehicles after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016.   REUTERS/Murad Sezer  - LR1EC7G0KXRL2
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Turkey’s reception of the first batch of the S-400 strategic air defense systems from Russia last month was loaded with symbolism that offers clues on why Ankara made the controversial purchase and the threat perception that prompted the move. In reverse order of importance, they could be listed as follows:

First, the delivery began July 12, three days ahead of the third anniversary of the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which was led by followers of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen within the Turkish military. This could not have been a coincidence. The delivery had been rescheduled to start in July 2019 upon Ankara’s request, a decision that was announced in April 2018.

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