Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Feb. 9 that Turkey was open to a compromise with regards to the deployment of Russian S-400 defense missile systems, in a way similar to the one Greece reached following its acquisition of Russia’s older S-300 defense system in 1997.
Greece placed the S-300s on the Greek island of Crete in 1999, after Turkey pressured original owner Cyprus to dispose of it.
“Whatever the model used for the S-300 on Crete, we’re open to negotiating,” Akar told reporters in the capital Ankara.
It is only during military drills or tests that Greece uses the S-300 system on Crete.
Akar also said that Turkey does not plan to use S-400s on its soil “all the time.”
“These systems are used according to the state of threats. We will make decisions based on that,” he said.
Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO's broader defense systems. Turkey rejects this, saying S-400s will not be integrated into NATO and purchasing them was a necessity as it was unable to procure air defense systems from any NATO ally on satisfactory terms.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last month that Turkey was in talks to procure a second shipment of S-400 missile defense systems from Russia and planned to hold talks on the issue.