Stoltenberg welcomes dialogue on Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400

15/09/2018 11:09

Stoltenberg welcomes dialogue on Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400


NATO welcomes dialogue to address Turkey's decision to acquire the Russian S-400 air defense system, the alliance's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said during a Heritage Foundation event in Washington, DC on Friday.

"Yes, there is a problem, there is a challenge with the decision to buy S-400 combined with [US fifth generation jets] F-35," Stoltenberg said. "I welcome the dialogue this addressed, but at the same time I think it is important to recognize the importance Turkey is playing to the whole alliance."

Stoltenberg said a decision regarding what kind of military capabilities to acquire is a national one, but NATO's concern is interoperability.

NATO has discussed the issue of purchasing the Russian S-400 in Ankara and in Washington, and hopes all parties can find a solution to the problem.

NATO has served as a platform for direct talks between the United States and Turkey to address the issue surrounding the procurement of the S-400.

US officials have warned that if Ankara goes ahead with its plans to purchase the S-400 system, the United States could withhold the transfer of F-35 jets to Turkey. In addition, the US Congress recently passed legislation that would block the transfer of F-35 jets if Turkey buys the S-400.

In December 2017, Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement for Moscow to supply Ankara with the S-400. According to a statement by the Turkish defense industry secretariat, two S-400 batteries will be operated and serviced by the Turkish military.

Earlier this month, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that Turkey expects to receive the S-400 in the near future.


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