S-400s missiles that Turkey acquired from Russia will operate in an autonomous “stand-alone mode” that does not require their integration with the NATO air defence system, according to Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar.
The decision to limit the scope of use of the S-400 batteries was Turkey’s first concession to its Western allies, apprehending that the deployment of the S-400 missiles into NATO’s air defence system could pose a threat to their security.
However, it may be too early to say that this step will resolve the conflict between Ankara and Washington. The US State Department has already said that in order to resume full-scale cooperation with the US, Turkey must either eliminate the S-400’s or return them to Moscow.
Experts believe that the statements of the Turkish Defense Minister confirms Ankara’s desire to circumvent ongoing confrontation with the United States over the supply of S-400 missiles
“After sharp rhetoric against the United States, the Turkish side is trying to demonstrate readiness to negotiate and prove the principal argument of the United States and the Western allies is incorrect, that after being put on combat duty, the S-400 systems could eventually enter the NATO security grid leading to valuable information leaks.
The use of the S-400s as an autonomous system eliminates this possibility,” Director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Ruslan Pukhov told Kommersant.
“The decision of Turkey not to include the S-400s in the national air defence system, integrated into the common NATO system, slightly reduces its effectiveness, since in this mode it will be used exclusively for solving local problems,” the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs expert Ilya Kramnik told Kommersant.
However, according to Kramnik, abandoning the S-400 is out of the question. Moreover, there are no guarantees that Ankara will not try to expand the possibilities of the Russian systems in the future.
Meanwhile, despite Ankara’s gesture, the question of whether it will be enough to defuse tensions with Washington remains open, the newspaper wrote. So far, the US has made it clear that the complete rejection of the S-400s is a prerequisite to defreeze ties.