After imposing sanctions on Turkey, the US has now asked Ankara to dump its S-400 systems bought from Russia, citing its incompatibility with the NATO equipment.
Washington indicates this will help restore the ties between the two nations, both of whom are NATO members.
Speaking to reporters on April 5, US Department of Defense spokesperson John Kirby said, “We urge Turkey not to retain the S-400 system.” He also mentioned that the Russian system would be incompatible with the Joint Strike Fighter Program and could make the American systems vulnerable to Russian intelligence.
“Turkey is a long-standing and valued NATO ally, but their decision to purchase the S-400 is inconsistent with Turkey’s commitments as a US and NATO ally,” he said.
Responding to the questions over Ankara’s allegations of Washington not supplying the Patriot missile systems, Kirby added that Turkey had ‘multiple opportunities’ over the last decade for its acquisition and that the country’s order for S-400 would provide Moscow additional revenue, access, and greater influence in the region.
While there were reports that the US could itself fund the purchase of S-400 and re-sell it to Turkey removing the CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) barriers, the US envoy to Turkey David Michael Satterfield said on Friday that his government was not planning on any such thing or a working group with Ankara to resolve disputes and reinstate its status in the JSF program.
— Press TV (@PressTV) January 16, 2021
However, despite the American threats, Turkey is again looking to purchase the second batch of S-400 systems. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken termed the purchase as “unacceptable”, saying tougher measures may be needed to prevent defense cooperation between Ankara and Moscow, hinting at further restrictions and sanctions.
Turkish President Erdogan defended his position and said that his country doesn’t need a validation certificate from Washington for its own security decisions. “I don’t know what Biden will say but in any case, we won’t be asking for permission from anybody,” Erdogan said prior to Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
The Americans have constantly spoken about the vulnerabilities of its systems to the Russian ones. It insists that Russia could use the Turkish systems to gather intelligence about the advanced capabilities of the F-35s and NATO network. However, Turkey had ensured that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems, and hence it won’t compromise the latter’s equipment.