Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to purchase a Russian surface-to-air missile system could create major problems for NATO, of which his country is a member.
October 30, 2017
Turkey has already agreed to purchase the S-400 surface-to-air missile system, but has not yet signed the contract with the Russian government to complete the transaction, however the head of NATO’s Military Committee is warning of “necessary consequences” if it follows through.
Gen. Petr Pavel said:
“The principal of sovereignty obviously exists in acquisition of defense equipment, but the same way that nations are sovereign in making their decision, they are also sovereign in facing the consequences of that decision.”
Among those consequences could be excluding Turkey from the alliance’s integrated air-defense system, as well as other technical restrictions. The general said he felt it was “fair” for the member countries to have a full discussion of “concerns and potential difficulties.”
Turkey plays a vital role in the NATO development and sustainment of the F-35 Lightning II and the Joint Strike Fighter Program. Many experts have suggested the S-400 system could provide Russia with vital information about the fifth-generation stealth fighter that could impact the alliance’s future operations.
Pavel said his concerns with the potential purchase are “security” focused, saying that the S-400 system, even if it isn’t integrated with the NATO, it “creates challenges for allied assets potentially deployed onto the territory of that country.” The general said, in spite of the current flap over the missile issue, the alliance still considers Turkey to be a “valuable strategic ally.”