NATO has received no request from Turkey to integrate its Russian origin S-400 missile defence system with the Pan-Atlantic defence bloc, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said.
“I am aware that Turkey has made an agreement or they have announced their intention to buy S-400 Russian air defense system. That’s a national Turkish decision. What matters for the NATO is whether it will be integrated into the NATO air defense system. There has been no request for that,” Stoltenberg was quoted as saying by Hurriyet Daily on Feb. 20 at the alliance headquarters.
“It goes without saying that it will be a difficult issue,” the secretary general explained, since the Russian system will not be interoperable with the NATO’s air defense systems.
Having expressed his concerns over the S-400 deal, the NATO’s chief recalled Turkey’s move to cooperate with two European-NATO allies for a similar system in November last year. Turkey signed a letter of intent with France and Italy to strengthen cooperation on joint defense projects. As a first step, the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium and Turkish companies will look into a system based on the SAMP-T missile systems.
“But at the same time I welcome the fact that Turkey has also signed a MOU [memorandum of understanding] with a consortium of Italian and French industry, called Eurosam which is now developing or looking into the possibility of selling SAMP-T to European air defense system,” Stoltenberg said.
“I will of course welcome any agreement with a NATO ally or among NATO allies on air defense,” he added.