Turkey’s S-400 batteries not to be integrated into NATO systems: Defense minister
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar says the highly advanced S-400 air defense systems that his country has bought from Russia will not be integrated into the systems of the NATO military alliance, and will be deployed independently.
Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg television news network on Thursday, Akar said Turkey will use the anti-aircraft weapon systems as a stand-alone weapon just like what Greece is doing with its Russian-built S-300 systems.
He added that Greece has the Russian S-300s in its inventory, along with some other NATO countries that use Russian-made weapons.
Akar highlighted that the Russian systems will not be integrated into the command and control infrastructure of NATO, but underlined that “Turkey is fulfilling all the responsibilities expected from NATO members.”
He noted that Turkey also expects its allies to understand Ankara’s legitimate security concerns and act accordingly.
Akar went on to say that Turkey had to buy S-400 missile systems from Russia as it was the only supplier responding to the country’s calls. “It was not an option but a necessity,” he pointed out.Turkey still needs more air defense systems for the full protection of its airspace and may purchase alternative weaponry like the Patriot from the United States and SAMP/T from an Italian-French consortium, Akar said.
“Turkey has worked with all its allies on alternative systems and is ready to do so,” he said.On a possibility of procurement of Patriot systems from the US, Akar stressed they can be purchased if the guarantees over technology transfer, joint production and delivery date are given to Turkey.“We cannot accept them saying, ‘We sold them, but the Congress does not approve,’” he underlined.