Turkey, a nominal NATO ally, has received its first shipment of the Russian S-400 missile system despite the objections of the US and NATO, according to the New York Times. The system is the same in use in both Syria and Venezuela, as well as Iran.

The move is significant on two levels; first, the system itself is designed for air defense against western aircraft. No other nation in the region, aside from Israel, has an airforce capable of evading Turkey’s current systems, unless Turkey fears a future confrontation with the US. Second, its signals Russia’s intention to undercut already strained ties with Turkey. Like it or not, the Turkish government serves as a critical juncture into the southwest Asia and stronger ties with either power- east or west- is certainly a major hinge of power.

Erdogan is likely doing what he does best- creating his own path while recognizing the importance his nation plays. And while this move is a bad one towards his nominal allies, its likely the nation is looking long-term into forging others.