U.K.-based weekly magazine-format newspaper The Economist said in an article published Thursday that Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems was "disturbing" for the West. The article started with The Economist bringing up an infographic titled the "Versatility of S-400 missile defense,' which was prepared by Turkey's official Anadolu Agency (AA) in September.
The said graphic listed technical specifications of the S-400, including its range, missiles and the aircraft it can eliminate. In its article, The Economist placed extra emphasis on the fact that "every single one was an American aircraft."
AA's S-400 infographic
The article went on to criticize the S-400 purchase, citing the Russian-made system's incompatibility with NATO's air-defense system, and possible violations of U.S. sanctions against Moscow as S-400 makers are now blacklisted by the State Department.
The Economist also speculated whether or not Russian President Vladimir Putin would transfer important military technology to a NATO member, while trying to create a rift between Turkey and the rest of the alliance.
Turkey agreed to buy two S-400's— Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system — in a more than $2 billion deal in September. The first system is expected to be delivered in 2019.
As a NATO member country, Turkey's decision to buy Russian S-400 systems has raised concern among other NATO member countries, but NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg ended speculations on Sep. 19 when he said member states had the sovereign right to make decisions regarding their military purchases.
Despite a popular notion, high-ranking Turkish officials ruled out that Turkey was moving away from NATO and assured that the S-400 purchase was not motivated by political reasons, rather it was made to address Turkey's growing defense needs.