Russia’s S-400, Turkey and NATO: Something More Than Just Military – Generals
Russia’s S-400, Turkey and NATO: Something More Than Just Military – Generals from Sputnik News
The United States and its NATO allies continue to express concerns over the Russia-Turkey deal on the delivery of the S-400 system. In an interview with Sputnik, retired Turkish generals commented on the issue and shared their thoughts on how this deal could affect Turkey-NATO relations.
What’s Behind NATO Warnings
Speaking with Sputnik Turkey, Beyazıt Karataş, a retired Maj. Gen. of the Turkish Air Force and deputy chairman of the Patriotic Party (Vatan Party), suggested that Ankara’s decision to buy the Russian-made missile defense system was due to the “hypocritical stance” of the United States and NATO.
“Turkey has been a NATO member since the 1950s and the country still cannot receive a long-range air defense system it needs very much from the alliance. In the current situation, buying air defense systems from the US is impossible,” Karataş pointed out.
Meanwhile, Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, warned of “consequences” for Turkey should Ankara buy the Russian-made weapons. The general said last week that while each nation is free to make its own defense decisions, Turkey’s intention to buy the S-400 would prevent Ankara from being integrated into the NATO air-defense system and also risks other technical restrictions.
“The principal of sovereignty obviously exists in acquisition of defense equipment, but in the same way that nations are sovereign in making their decision, they are also sovereign in facing the consequences of that decision,” Pavel was quoted as saying by Defense News.
According to Karataş, such “threats” are the only thing that NATO can do to Turkey and Russia amid the S-400 deal.
Commenting further, the analyst explained that Russia-Turkey’s close cooperation is regarded as a danger by NATO countries, first of all by the US.
“Turkey’s rapprochement with Russia was motivated by the situation in the Middle East. A crisis in bilateral relations after a Turkish jet shot down a Russian bomber in November 2015 was quickly resolved and both countries started actively building cooperation,” he said, adding that this cooperation is very important both in military and economic terms.
Talking about NATO’s pressure on Ankara over the S-400 deal, Karataş stressed that Turkey is a sovereign nation and no foreign country should meddle in the issue.