Jan 23, 2020 15:48 UTC
  • Russian S-400 air defense compatible with NATO's security system: Turkish FM

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu seeks to assuage NATO’ concerns about Ankara’s purchase of advanced Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems, saying the military hardware is compatible with the alliance’s security systems.

“What is the concern or claim? That the F-35s and S400 are not compatible, they are incompatible. This is the claim, right. And here is our proposal, let me repeat, let's establish a working group and NATO can chair this or lead this. And let the experts examine this, assess this, make the assessment and they should come back to us,” Cavusoglu said during a panel discussion at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos on Thursday.

He added, “We believe that they are not incompatible and we are making sure that they will integrate to the NATO system - this is the defense system - and will not pose any threats neither to the NATO system nor to NATO allies.”

Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 system and its recent testing of US-made F-16 Viper and F-4 Phantom II fighter jets have strained its relations with Washington and other NATO members.

Ankara announced the tests on November 24 last year. The testing, which began the following day, continued through November 26.The S-400 systems are presently based at Murted Air Base, which is situated just outside the Turkish capital. 

The US has already punished Turkey by suspending it from the F-35 stealth fighter jet program.

On December 12, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova strongly condemned US pressures on Turkey over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense systems, also dismissing Washington’s threats of sanctions over procurement of the systems as “unacceptable.”

“We consider this rhetoric unacceptable, since it is actually about pressure,” Zakharova said at a press briefing in Moscow at the time.