Apparently, in a reconfiguration of positions in the geopolitics, Turkey, a NATO-member, has signed a $2 billion deal to buy the S-400 Russian air defense missile system while Russian Duma voted on Thursday (Dec. 21) to extend Russia’s lease of a naval base in Syria for 49 years,
Vladimir Kozhin, a presidential aide who oversees Russia’s matters of military cooperation, said Thursday that the deal was now finalized and Moscow would begin delivery of the system to Ankara in late 2019. “The first deliveries are likely to begin at the end of 2019, beginning of 2020,” according to Kozhin.
He said no more issues remained about the deal, which was discussed between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the former’s visit to Ankara on December 11.
Russian missile system
S-400, acronym for the Triumf Mobile Multiple Anti-Aircraft Missile System (AAMS), is an advanced Russian missile system designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away. It has previously been sold only to China and India.
“All aspects have been resolved over the past few days … All parameters, all technologies, the entire deal has been agreed … Practically speaking, the contract is entering the phase of realization,” Kozhin said.
The official added that Russia would grant a credit to Turkey to help finance the deal.
“The contract will consist of two parts financially: part of it will be paid by Turkey and part through a credit provided by Russia,” Kozhin said about the agreement which has been valued at about $2 billion.
The deal comes as Turkey has been establishing closer relations with Russia after its relations soured with Western governments following a crackdown on people linked to Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) allegedly behind the July 2016 failed coup to overthrow the Erdogan government.
Russia returns lost positions by expanding Navy base in Syria
Russia returns lost positions and ensures presence in the Middle East by expanding the Naval base in Syria’s Tartus port, Andrey Krasov, first deputy chairman of the State Duma’s Defense Committee, told the Russian news agency TASS.
“Russia needs this base to be present in this region,” Krasov said reminding that Syria has always been the strategic partner of Russia and USSR. “Unlike NATO, the Russian Federation is the guarantor of security in the world,” he asserted.
“In Syria, we fight against international terrorism not only by words, but also by deeds. Both Russian Aerospace Defense Forces and Russian Navy’s ship groups demonstrate their professionalism, high qualifications in supporting the Syrian Armed Forces in the fight against terrorism,” he noted
“When in the 1990s we did not hold any drills and closed our bases one by one ― in Cam Ranh (Vietnam), in Cuba ― no one cared about this, everybody was clapping their hands,” Krasov said.
“And now, when we rose from our knees, when we started to actively train our forces – and we are doing this on our own territory – our defense-industrial companies produce the most modern weapons, and no other army in the world has such equipment and such weapons – this worries someone,” he said.
“We are worried, however, that NATO is approaching our borders. We do not get closer to anybody, but by these actions, we are returning the positions lost earlier, we are returning our presence in this region,” he stressed.
Moscow cements deal with Damascus
It was reported in January this year that Russia and Syria have signed an agreement on expanding the territory of the Russian Navy’s logistics facility in Tartus for 49 years. The document was published on the official legal information portal, according to Tass.
“The current agreement will stay effective for 49 years and be automatically prolonged for 25-year periods, if neither party makes a twelve months’ notice in writing through diplomatic channels of its intention to terminate the agreement’s operation,” the document said.
“The logistic facility shall enjoy full immunity from the civil and administrative jurisdiction of Syria. Its movable and immovable property enjoys immunity from search, requisition, arrest or executory measures,” the document states.
The facility’s personnel, including its commander, personnel and crews and their members will enjoy immunity and privileges. They are guaranteed the inviolability of the person.
“They shall not be subject to arrest or detention in whatever form by the Syrian authorities. The personnel of the facility, the families of personnel and of crewmembers are guaranteed the inviolability of the home, documents, property and correspondence,” the agreement states.
Russian airbase in Syria
Russia and Syria have signed an agreement for 49 years on the presence of Russia’s aerospace group at Syria’s Hmeymim base. The document was also published on the legal information portal.
Under the arrangement Syria will let Russia use part of the Hmeymim airdrome and ground facilities.
“Perimeter protection of places of deployment of the Russian aerospace group is ensured by the Syrian side. The Russian side ensures air defense of places of deployment of the Russian aerospace group, interior guard and law and order at places of deployment of the Russian aerospace group,” the document says.
Like the Naval agreement, the Russia-Syria agreement on the presence of Russia’s aerospace group at Syria’s Hmeymim base will operate for 49 years and will be prolonged for subsequent 25-year periods, if neither party makes a twelve months’ notice in writing through diplomatic channels of its intention to terminate its operation.
Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofamerica.net). He is the author of several books including Islam & Muslims in the 21st Century published in 2017.