Turkey has been a member of NATO for more than five decades. This changed with the election of Tayyab Erdogan as president. Erdogan is a highly independent-minded man and he has been irked by alleged American and CIA involvement in trying to foment a revolt against him and also giving shelter to his political opponents, Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey was in the limelight during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

At that time the Russian leader, Nikita Khrushchev had linked the withdrawal of missiles in Cuba to the American Jupiter missiles stationed in Turkey. Subsequently, the Americans withdrew the missiles from Turkey but Turkey has always been a staunch member of the Western alliance.

The recent murder of an opponent of the Arabian dynasty in the Saudi embassy in Ankara has also strained the relationship as Trump who recently approved and then canceled air strikes on Iran has not condemned the Saudi action. Erdogan was looking for a way to get back to the Americans and he wanted to show that he was the boss.

S-400

He went ahead and negotiated with Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader to supply the S-400 missile system to Turkey. Despite strong opposition by the United States and Donald Trump, the Turkish president has gone ahead with the deal and has said that the deal is "done and sealed".

Reports have been received that the first consignment of the weapons system has arrived in Turkey. The NY Times has reported that the first consignment arrived at Murted Air Base on Friday.

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Donald Trump

This has been confirmed by the Turkish Defense Ministry. Earlier 20 technicians from the Turkish armed forces were sent to Russia for training on the new missile system.

Putin wins

Selling the missiles to Turkey, which is a member of the Western alliance is a feather in the cap of Vladimir Putin. He has for a long time, wanted to undermine the Western alliance and by selling this weapon system to Turkey, he has breached the alliance.

The significance of the weapon system supplied by Russia to Turkey cannot be underrated, as along with maintaining American weaponry, the Russian system will also operate, creating a mismatch. The USA has a point that Russian weapons systems will not be compatible with the American systems which the Turkish army and airforce have used for decades.

Imposing sanctions

Donald Trump has personally spoken to the president but he has been adamant.

He has, by his action, breached the alliance. America has said that they will apply sanctions if Turkey goes ahead with the deal. It will have to be seen how successful they are in enforcing them. The imposing of sanctions is a double-edged sword and any attempt to restrict American weapons could allow Erdogan to get more weapons from Russia. Time magazine has reported that Erdogan has refused to bow down to the American threat.

The economic sanctions may hurt Turkey to some extent but part of their effect will be eased out by Russia and China who have for long been trying to wean Turkey from the Western alliance.

Last word

Erdogan is a hard nut to crack and it is not likely that the sanctions will have much effect. There is a chance that the sanctions may be imposed and then suspended by President Trump. The cohesive Western alliance NATO is breached and America and the west have to accept the induction of the S-400 missile system in the Turkish Army

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