The editorial board of the Financial Times (FT) penned a surreal editorial Tuesday, addressing the recent G20 meeting between U.S. and Turkish officials. The first and last sentence in the editorial both include the word "chummy," which sets the tone for the entire editorial as at least a bit peculiar.
The editorial board regurgitates the same tired narrative surrounding the S-400 debate. It could very have well been written by the National Security Adviser and consummate war hawk John Bolton, but the Japanese owned FT would argue this was independent thinking I'm sure.
In short, the FT argues that Trump is lying or is too dumb to realize his own party won't go along with his wishes and the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate will sanction Turkey despite his public assurances. The editorial board argues: "Turkey, like any sovereign state, is entitled to make its own choices on defense procurement. But as a NATO member, it is not entitled to punch a hole in the solidarity and security of the alliance." So purchasing a missile defense system from NATO's perceived number one adversary (after having been rebuffed by other NATO allies for defense equipment) and having access to said defenses would be "punch[ing] a hole in the... security of the alliance." Really? You don't want access to the defense capabilities of your "enemy?" Quite the opposite, you'd want to know exactly what their capabilities were.
As for the argument that having the S-400s in Turkey, while simultaneously delivering the F-35s, which Turkey has already paid for, is allowing the Russians to get a look at the F-35s, how exactly does Russia currently not have access to Turkey's fighters? Do the Russian bases on the Black Sea and in Syria not already monitor Turkish aircraft? Surely, thinking that they don't is naive at best.
As for "solidarity" within the alliance, where was the FT when the same U.S. Congress wouldn't allow its ally to protect itself by purchasing the U.S. made Patriot missiles? Ahh, but the U.S. backtracked and allowed Turkey to purchase these missiles says the FT: "Late in the day, the U.S. offered Turkey its Patriot missile defense system as an alternative to the S-400." And for the record, does "late in the day" mean over a year later? After Turkey already paid the Russians billions of dollars? If you're going to make an argument, why hide facts from your readers FT Editorial Board?
So Turkey wasn't allowed to purchase the Patriot missile defense system, it's not allowed to buy the Russian made S-400 missile battery, it must accept a terror organization on its southern border, well maybe it can buy the Patriot missiles but it must take a $2.5 billion loss on the S-400s, etc., etc. Oh, and NATO won't cover those costs, go ahead and bite the bullet Turkey. Am I missing something FT? Would you like all the first-born children of the country as well?
Normally I would think the FT is oblivious to the wars going on on Turkey's borders and how important cooperation with Russia is, especially to save the lives of the millions of people still living in northern Syria, but they report on them all the time. President Trump very succinctly explained the entire situation in Osaka, only miles away from where the FT's publisher is based, but I guess they weren't watching the press conference. The Turkish lira and equity markets rallied following Trump's words, meaning financial markets disagree with the FT's take that U.S. sanctions are inevitable.
Turkey has no choice at this point but to take delivery of the defense weapons it already paid for. If you have a better solution FT, by all means, I'd love to hear your thoughts. But, "you'll do whatever I say, whenever I say it, and I'm free to change my mind whenever I please" isn't the show of "solidarity" that you expect from Turkey now, is it?