Russian transducers on the same base the coup d’état’s planes took off from
The Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems’ date and point of arrival are of great symbolic value and indicate in what state Turkey’s relations with the US and Russia stand at the moment.
On July 15, 2016, during a coup attempt against Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish F-16 fighter aircrafts took off from the Akinci base in Ankara. The aircrafts dropped bombs on the presidential palace as well as on the center of the Turkish Police’s Special Forces, where 44 policemen were killed.
The coup d’état’s instigators, who commanded the entire coup attempt, were on that same base, giving orders to all units.
Following the military coup’s failure, the Turkish Air Force’s fighter aircrafts bombed that base, in order to terminate the activity of the take-over’s initiators. Immediately after that, all units that were part of the base were abolished. A few months ago the base was re-activated under the name it had before 1995, as Mürted air base.
Ironically, three years after the coup attempt, the Russian cargo planes landed on Mürted’s 4 km long landing strip to transport the S-400 anti-aircraft missiles to Turkey!
There is profound symbolism in how this base and how the nationality of the aircrafts landing there are used. It is no secret in Turkey that many AKP executives believe the US were involved in the attempted coup against Erdogan.
It is of the utmost importance that today, three years after the take-over, the coup d’état’s headquarters host Russian transducers carrying the S-400s.
The first Russian transshipment landed at the Mürted base on July 12. On July 15, on the third anniversary of the coup attempt, the transport of the S-400s continued. This could not have been accidental.
The Turkish president’s emphatic reference to the S-400s during the commemoration ceremonies for the victims from the night of the attempted coup is not accidental either. “The S-400’s reception has begun. They said they couldn’t get them. So far, eight aircrafts have come and carried them. Now our goal is co-production with Russia. We will go forward with that as well”, Erdogan stated in a speech during a memorial service for the police officers killed in Ankara on July 15, 2016.
The New York Times correspondent in Turkey, Carlotta Gall, reports in her July 16 article that “If there is a message in this agreement (meaning the S-400s) it is Erdogan’s rooted suspicion that the US are behind the overthrow effort, on the bloody night of 2016”.
Hurriyet columnist Sedat Ergin notes that “essentially for Erdogan, the S-400s’ arrival is his response to the US for the attempted coup on July 15”.
Indeed, Washington delayed its immediate condemnation of the coup attempt, and did not issue a clear statement of support towards the Turkish government. On July 29, 2016, Erdogan accused some US officers of being “on the side of the take-over’s instigators. The coup d’état’s instigator can already be found in your country”, he said, referring to imam Fethullah Gulen, who was accused by Ankara of organizing Erdogan’s attempted overthrow.
“Had the US-Turkish relations not been overshadowed by suspicions of a July 15 coup attempt, and were they based instead on confidence, then Ankara might not had engaged in a S-400 search process”, Ergin commented.
Donald Trump’s statement during his meeting with Erdogan on the S-400 purchase that “the blame is on the Obama administration, for not handing over the Patriots” might have been an attempt by the current US government to please the Turkish president, as, from his point of view, he was referring to mistakes of the past./ibna