LONDON: A missile defense system bought by Turkey from Russia is “in no way compatible” with NATO’s defense, the alliance said after a fractious meeting in London came to an end Wednesday.
Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 system and recent testing on US-made jets has strained relations with the US and other NATO members.
The 70th anniversary meeting was also overshadowed by Turkey’s military offensive into northern Syria and an agreement with one of Libya’s warring administrations over maritime borders in the Mediterranean.
Turkey has in the past been seen as an important regional NATO member, offering a base for US military planes and nuclear payloads. But some experts say Turkey’s actions are making it increasingly incompatible with other NATO countries.
Speaking after the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, made clear that the purchase of the missile defense system from Russia was in no way compatible with the alliance.
“That’s a national Turkish decision. Many allies have expressed concerns, I have also expressed my concerns about the consequences of that decision,” Stoltenberg said.
“A Russian air defense system, S-400, will never be integrated into NATO. It will never be part of the NATO integrated air and missile defense system.”
French President Emmanual Macron has been particularly vocal in his criticism or Turkish policy in Syria, where Ankara launched an operation against Kurdish fighters in October.
On Wednesday, those differences appeared unresolved within the London meetings with Macron saying they would have to agree to disagree over Turkey’s branding of Kurdish militias in Syria as “terrorist groups.”
“I don't see any possible consensus,” Macron said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted NATO to recognized the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) as terrorists, saying he would block an update to defence plans for the Baltic states and Poland if the alliance didn't back him.
But after meetings between Erdogan and Trump, Turkey dropped its objections.