Turkey’s agreement to purchase Russian S-400 missile systems is a national security problem for NATO countries. The Alliance cannot use F-35 fighters in combination with these Russian missile systems, a high-level representative of the US leadership stated on Thursday, March 14.
The official that talked anonymously with a group of journalists specified that Ankara's purchase of the S-400 cannot be equated to Turkey's withdrawal from NATO. However, he noted that the deal between Ankara and Moscow should be seen as a problem threatening the national security of the whole Alliance.
“We continue working on a number of options to guarantee that the changes will not affect Turkey's participation in NATO and its bilateral relations with the NATO-member countries,” one of the officials stated as quoted by the Voice of America. According to him, two systems, the Russian S-400 and American F-35 cannot be used simultaneously within NATO because of the threat to the Alliance’s national security.
Turkish authorities have repeatedly stated that they will not refuse to buy Russia’s missile systems despite warnings from Washington and the NATO leadership. Washington tried to convince Ankara to purchase US Patriot anti-missile systems instead, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was firm that Ankara would not refuse to purchase the Russian S-400.
According to a representative of the Trump Administration, Washington's offer to sell Patriots to Turkey remains on the table. Negotiations with Turkey regarding this are continuing. However, the official proposal expires at the end of this month.
On Thursday, March 14, Erdoğan reiterated that the Ankara's withdrawal from the deal with Moscow is impossible, a position that could cause a diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Washington. If Turkey purchases the Russian S-400, the country can be subject to US sanctions according to the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.”