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Is Ankara on mission impossible over S-400 conundrum?

Confusion reigns in Ankara on how to manage the S-400 crisis, as pressure to satisfy Moscow along with Washington makes it a tall, if not impossible, order.

Turkey’s acquisition of Russian S-400 air defense systems has snagged any progress in its fraught relationship with the United States, growing into a sort of “mother of all problems” between the two NATO allies. Confusion reigns in Ankara on how to manage the crisis after two years of failed efforts at a solution that would allow Turkey to use the systems while allaying the concerns of its Western partners. The need to satisfy Moscow as well makes it a tall — almost impossible — order.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government never foresaw a crisis on such a scale when Ankara signed the contract with Moscow in April 2017, driven by domestic political calculations and without a proper assessment of geopolitical risks. The full extent of the cost and terms of the deal, including the rights and obligations of the Turkish and Russian sides, remains unknown to the public. In any case, the crisis has an Ankara-Moscow dimension, which is often overlooked as the discussion in the Western media focuses on the crisis’ impact on Turkish-US relations.

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