No angst over Turkey’s air defense deal with Russia, NATO chief says

October 11, 2017

Daily Sabah:

NATO ally Turkey is not seeking to antagonize the U.S.-led alliance by purchasing Russian S-400 surface-to-air missiles and is in talks with France and Italy to buy similar weapons, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Ankara’s decision to buy the non-NATO Russian system has been seen in some Western capitals as a snub to the alliance, given tensions with Moscow over Ukraine and Syria, while the deal raised concerns because the weapons cannot be integrated into NATO defenses.

But Stoltenberg said it was a sovereign decision and that he had talked it through with President Tayyip Erdoğan.

“There hasn’t been any request from Turkey to integrate the S-400 into the NATO air defense system,” Stoltenberg told Reuters in an interview on a Belgian military plane returning from Romania late on Monday.

“I spoke with President Erdoğan when I met him in September. I said that the kind of capabilities different nations want to acquire is a national decision,” he said of the S-400 system that Turkey has made an advance payment for and hopes to see delivered in 2019…

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