As he takes delivery of a second air-defense system from Russia in a purchase that’s already caused a serious rift with President Donald Trump’s administration, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan is doubling down by considering a bid for warplanes from his “dear friend” Vladimir Putin.
It’s a move that may have far-reaching consequences for Turkey’s economy and its relationship with the U.S. and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. But after being locked out of the U.S. program for advanced F-35 fighter jets as punishment for buying the Russian S-400 system, Erdogan is shopping around for options.
Putin may be only too willing to oblige if it helps drive a wedge between NATO and Turkey, the alliance’s second-biggest military after the U.S. Luring Ankara into Moscow’s embrace would be a stunning diplomatic triumph that may justify offering Erdogan access to some of Russia’s best military hardware.
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