Moscow's "Eye In Turkey": Transfer Of S-400 Missiles Will Open Turkey To Russian Spying, NATO Warns

The German language Der Spiegel magazine in a recent editorial attempted to sound the alarm of encroaching Russian influence in NATO connected with Russia's advanced S-400 anti-aircraft systems.

"The Turkish government wants to buy the state-of-the-art Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system. NATO considers this a serious provocation: the system is not only incompatible with the alliance's existing defenses, but it could also expose secrets of the new US F-35 fighter jet to Russia, which Turkey also wants to buy," according to a rough translation from the German. 

Der Spiegel's editorial was published at end of a week in which the NATO/US and Turkish relationship threatened to reach a breaking point. As we previously reported Turkish Prime Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu recently warned that Turkey would retaliate if a bill being pushed by House Republicans to block arms sales to Turkey becomes law.

US lawmakers released details earlier this month of a $717 billion annual defense policy bill that included a provision to temporarily halt weapons sales to Turkey. During a subsequent interview with broadcaster CNN Turk, Cavusoglu criticized the measure, saying it was wrong to impose such a restriction on a military ally, alluding to the fact that Turkey has graciously allowed the US to use its Encirlik air base to launch its air strikes against ISIS (as well as against Turkey's enemy the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad).

"If the United States imposes sanctions on us or takes such a step, Turkey will absolutely retaliate," Cavusoglu said. "What needs to be done is the U.S. needs to let go of this."

Will Turkey's retaliation come in the form moving forward with installation of Russia's S-400 missile system?

While still a ways away from becoming law (and its unclear if President Trump, who has publicly praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan) the proposed US National Defense Authorization Act would block sales of "major" arms to Turkey until a report on the relationship between the US and Turkey (which is also a component of the law) is completed by the Pentagon.

The implied target of the bill would be the 116 F-35 Lightning II fighters that Washington has promised to sell Ankara, of which 100 are almost ready to be delivered. The bill is in many ways a response to Turkey's recent purchase of S-400 air defense systems from Russia. 

And interestingly, NATO is now pushing the idea that Russia supplying a NATO member with the advance S-400 would open up Turkey to unprecedented access to Russian spies, especially as the system installation would require months of technical training and Russian-Turkish military-to-military cooperation. 

The Der Spiegal editorial presents this "Russian exploitation of NATO weapons systems" point of view in its provocative article below is analysis and translation of select passages authored and submitted by Leith Aboufadel of Al-Masdar News.

* * *

For NATO, the supply of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Turkey is a real “provocation,” the German magazine Der Spiegel writes. The alliance fears that with the help of the S-400, Moscow will be able to find the strengths and weaknesses of the fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets that Ankara intends to purchase from Washington, the publication said.

“Ironically, the S-400 is considered potentially the most dangerous enemy of a multi-functional fighter, which in the next few years will become the basis of the US Air Force and other countries,” Spiegel writes.

As further reported, servicemen of NATO countries are wary of deliveries of Russian SAMs, since, in their opinion, they can become Moscow’s “eye in Turkey”. With the help of the S-400, Russia will be able to obtain all the data on the F-35 and other combat aircraft, the authors believe.

In the opinion of the editorial board, the S-400 will also reduce the effectiveness of the stealth technology, which reduces the visibility of the F-35. As Spiegel writes, Russian ZRKs will be able to record onboard radar data, ground communication channels and radio communications, with the help of which the S-400 will “step by step study and locate allegedly invisible fighters.”

“For the F-35 armament system, of which stealth technology and data transfer capabilities are critical, this would be a disaster,” the publication notes.

In December last year, Turkey and Russia signed an agreement on the supply of the S-400 system. Ankara will buy two batteries of air defense systems, which will be serviced by Turkish personnel. The two sides also agreed on technological cooperation in the development of the production of anti-aircraft missile systems in Turkey.

The United States, as well as NATO representatives, repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the supply of S-400 to Turkey. US Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell stated that the purchase of Russian SAMs could negatively affect the supply of American F-35s to Turkey.


OverTheHedge RafterManFMJ Mon, 05/14/2018 - 03:03 Permalink

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't a NATO member buying the S400 allow all NATO members to take it apart, test it, play with it and generally work out all its capabilities? Isn't this a two edged sword, works both ways etc arrangement?

I foresee a LOT of NATO air exercises in Turkey as soon as they get the S400.

In reply to by RafterManFMJ

flapdoodle philipat Mon, 05/14/2018 - 08:04 Permalink

US MIC trolls aside, the circumstantial evidence is that the F35 is a pig and certainly not ready for prime time.

No use in combat by the US in its recent Syrian strikes, or by Israel even more recently. Contrast to the Serbian/Kosovo venture where the F115 was extensively used, from the beginning... and L-M certainly needs some better PR on the F35 and successful use in combat would go a long way towards improving the lipstick on this pig.

The Russians/Chinese would love to find out the secrets of the F35 to know what NOT to do in designing a aircraft.

In reply to by philipat

Harry Lightning I am Groot Mon, 05/14/2018 - 04:53 Permalink

Maybe that's a good reason to sell them the aircraft, so that the Russians will waste a lot of time and effort reverse engineering a plane that is not a real threat. 

Of course, that is if you are correct in your judgment of the capabilities of the F 35. From what I have been told, its a really fine offensive weapon in the hands of really expert combat pilots. 

In reply to by I am Groot

GreatUncle OverTheHedge Mon, 05/14/2018 - 08:50 Permalink

Anything the S-400 does better it will be stolen.

Bit like the US after WW2 agreed to exchange the data from breaking the speed of sound etc. with the UK.

UK handed over theirs like idiots ... US never returned the favour.

Now if I wanted to reduce the R&D on air defences to obtain an S-400 then reverse engineering an actual S-400 is much cheaper and way faster.

Hence I think Russia is an idiot to sell it.

Now the US are probably more advanced in some areas ... think maybe a stealth S-400?

Saying that I wonder how good the S-500 is?

If it obsoletes the S-400 no big deal, bit like Syria using S-200 and maybe changing to S-300.


In reply to by OverTheHedge

Fireman RafterManFMJ Mon, 05/14/2018 - 04:30 Permalink

Turkey has left the building...oh dear. USSA'S least favorite son of a bitch has pivotted. What next the Germans will start imagining it's time to end WW2 and kick out the occupying, war mongering Pentacon snaggle-toothed ghouls?

Even the most powerful anglozionazi weapon, the sickening "Wholly Hollow Cost" meme is starting to crack.…

In reply to by RafterManFMJ

Harry Lightning researchfix Mon, 05/14/2018 - 03:13 Permalink

That's a good one. 

Seriously, the Russians would be foolish to sell s 400s to Turkey, as would the US be to sell them F-35s.

I have no doubt that the Turkish government would secretly invite Russian engineers to tear apart the F 35 to see what it has and how its built. And I think that elements of the Turkish military would do the same for the US vis-a-vis the S 400. Turkey does not need either weapon system, no one is attacking them and their only use for the systems would be to fight the Kurds, a force against which such sophistication is unnecessary. Accordingly there is no good outcome for either Russia or the US to sell these advanced technology systems to Turkey.

In reply to by researchfix

Harry Lightning Juggernaut x2 Mon, 05/14/2018 - 04:31 Permalink

Too big a risk for Israel to do that for a number of reasons, primarily because they don;t want their enemies to know the technology they are using in defense of Israel, and they do not want to risk losing the ability to buy weapons from the US in the future.

Turkey is in a much different situation than Israel. No one is looking to attack Turkey, and Turkey plays both sides of the same candle so as to ensure that if one side won't sell to them the other will. 


In reply to by Juggernaut x2

not-me---it-wa… Harry Lightning Mon, 05/14/2018 - 08:49 Permalink

what? israel lose the ability to, ahem, "buy" weapons from the usa?


congress is more likely to refuse to pass a defense budget, leaving the pentagram penniless, than shirk paying tribute to their zionist overlords.

right....when was the last time a congresscritter was overheard saying, "we should suspend aid and weapons sales to israel because they tried to sink the liberty, and then murdered our sailors in lifeboats."


In reply to by Harry Lightning

researchfix Mon, 05/14/2018 - 03:05 Permalink

..the 116 F-35 Lightning II fighters that Washington has promised to sell Ankara, of which 100 are almost ready to be delivered.

Sure, but the part which makes it fly seems to be missing...