"Erdogan has crossed the Rubicon, as Ankara no longer has any plausible deniability that the system is not fully activated," said Aykan Erdemir, former Turkish member of Parliament and current Senior Director of the Turkey Program at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
Erdemir's forecast: "Putin's bet to use Erdogan as a spoiler in NATO has paid off, as Turkey will continue to distract the transatlantic alliance by diverting its attention and resources away from pressing threats elsewhere," he writes. "Washington's inaction and the impunity Erdogan has so far enjoyed will encourage other states to go forward with their plans to purchase the S-400 air defense system and other big ticket military hardware from Russia."
The European Union announced on Thursday sanctions on a Russian businessman and confidant of President Vladimir Putin over his alleged links to a Russian private military contractor accused of violating an arms embargo on Libya. Yevgeny Prigozhin is widely believed to be a leader of the Wagner Group, which operates as an unofficial arm of Russia's Defense Ministry. The Wagner Group has been accused of recruiting thousands of Syrian mercenaries to fight alongside Libya’s eastern military strongman Khalifa Hifter.