A senior State Department official has warned that Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missiles could reflect negatively on several U.S. military-industrial projects in cooperation with Ankara – including the production of the F-35 fighters.
The potential consequences of the Turkish decision will have a “ripple effect” on other joint production projects, A. Wess Mitchell, assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasian affairs, was quoted as saying by USNI.org at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Washington is seriously concerned about Ankara's push to buy Russian S-400 systems when the Trump administration’s National Security and National Defense strategies are placing new emphasis on NATO’s southern frontier and the eastern Mediterranean.
NATO officials have also consistently voiced their negative opinions on the Russian-Ankara deal, stating that that the S-400 system is not compatible with the air defense systems currently used by the alliance.
Mitchell conceded, “Turkey has legitimate security concerns” about Kurdish separatists inside its borders, Islamic terrorists operating in Syria and other neighbouring countries and parts of its own citizenry possibly plotting another coup attempt.
Mitchell further explained why Ankara remains “a critical partner” in NATO that includes the effort to defeat the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, continuing counter-terrorism work throughout the Middle East with the alliance and hosting the air base at Incirlik, key for U.S. military operations in the region and a defense against Russian air intrusions.
In December 2017, Russian and Turkish representatives inked a loan agreement on the sale of the S-400 systems to Ankara. It will buy two batteries of S-400 missiles, which will be manned by Turkish military personnel.