Turkey's purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia poses a risk to NATO and can lead to U.S. sanctions, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Oct. 5.
“We face a number of difficult issues. That makes it even more important for me to address them directly with the Turkish leadership. We are concerned about the consequences of Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 system. The system can pose a risk to Allied aircraft and can lead to US sanctions,” Stoltenberg said during a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
Stoltenberg said that the S-400 system cannot be integrated into NATO's aerial missile defense system and urged Turkey to work with all the allies to find alternative solutions.Talks on second S-400 shipment to Turkey in progress, but no contract yet, Russian army official says
“This is a national decision for Turkey to make, but the S-400 cannot be integrated into NATO’s air and missile defence system. And I urge Turkey to work with other Allies to find alternative solutions. And we discussed this during our meeting today,” he said.
Turkey bought a batch of the missile systems from Russia last year, leading to its suspension by Washington from the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter jet programme. The United States has said that Turkey risks U.S. sanctions if it deploys the Russian-made S-400s.
For his part, Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey could not get the Patriots or any other air defense systems from NATO allies, which led to Ankara's purchase of the S-400.
"Since we could not get the Patriot or any other air defense systems from our allies, we had to buy S-400. And we see the sensitivity this creates within NATO," he said, indicating that Turkey also needs to meet its essential requirements.Several Congress members 'blocking US arms sales to Turkey over its S-400 purchase'
"NATO and its allies need to understand this too," he said. "This is not only about the air defense system, but also that the allies should not cause each other difficulties for different reasons in meeting other needs in the defense industry," Çavuşoğlu said, adding this was one of the issues he discussed with the NATO head.
NATO chief calls for Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire
Çavuşoğlu and Stoltenberg also touched upon the recent conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Stoltenberg said there was no military solution to the conflict, whereas Çavuşoğlu urged the alliance to call for the withdrawal of Armenian forces from the region.Azerbaijan wants Turkey part of future Caucasus peace process
"It is extremely important that we convey a very clear message to all parties that they should cease fighting immediately, that we should support all efforts to find a peaceful, negotiated solution," Stoltenberg said.
Turkey has condemned what it says is Armenian occupation in Nagorno-Karabakh and vowed full solidarity with ethnic Turkic Azerbaijan. Çavuşoğlu said NATO should also call for the withdrawal of Armenian forces from the region.
"Azerbaijan is battling in its own lands, it is trying to take back its lands from terrorists and occupiers. Legally and morally, everyone should support Azerbaijan in that sense," Çavuşoğlu said.
"Everyone, namely NATO, should call for the resolution of this problem under international laws, U.N. resolutions and Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, so by Armenia immediately withdrawing from this region."
The fighting began on Sept. 27 and has surged to its worst level since the 1990s, when some 30,000 people were killed.
In a video address to commanders, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Armenia was targeting civilians, and it "must immediately withdraw from the lands it occupies without committing any further humanitarian crimes."