Turkey has found Greek deployment of its S-300 air defence systems (ADS) as a convenient cover to use its own S-400 ADS against the wishes of the United States.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar today said Ankara will use the armament (S-400 ADS) just as other members of the NATO military alliance employ their S-300 defense systems.
“Just as the S-300 [missile defense] system, which exists in some NATO member states, is used in the alliance, the S-400 system will also be used [in Turkey] in the same way,” Akar told members of the Turkish parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee on Thursday, Turkish media reported.
He reiterated Ankara’s demand that the US form a joint working group on the compatibility of the S-400 system and F-35 stealth fighter jets. “We’re ready to discuss the technical concerns of the US on the compatibility of S-400s and F-35s.” he said.
The Greek Armed Forces carried out the first test firing of the S-300 ADS at the NATO Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI) in Crete, Greece as part of the Lefkos Aetos 2013 (White Eagle 2013) military exercise. The firing occurred some 14 years after its initial purchase.
The S-300 PMU1 system was originally acquired by Cyprus from Russia in the mid-1990s, but was later transferred to Greece which is reported to have upgraded the system with Russian help.
Besides Greece, NATO member Bulgaria operates a multi layered Soviet air defence network, comprising d of S-300 and S-200 long range missile defence systems complemented by S-125 and S-75 short and medium range ADS.
The US has remarkably toned down its anti-Turkish rhetoric ever since Ankara tested its S-400 systems in October. Recent commercial events such as an agreement between Boeing and Turkish Aerospace to make aircraft composites and an earlier deal to sell GE engines to a Turkish Frigate project in Pakistan point to a possible rapprochement.