Purchase of Russian missiles up to Turkey: NATO chief
ISTANBULCommenting on Turkey’s planned missile purchase from Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has reportedly said that it is “up to each member state” of the alliance to make its own decisions on the purchase of weapons.
“It’s up to each individual ally to decide on what kind of equipment it acquires,” the Russian Sputnik news agency quoted him as saying on Sept. 14.
“This is a Turkish national decision. What is important for NATO is that our different systems are working together, that we have what we call interoperability. For this system, there has been no request for integrating it into the NATO air defense system. So that has not been on the table,” Stoltenberg added.
His comments came one day after France said Ankara’s decision to buy a missile defense system from Russia was not a “cause for comment” by NATO allies, in remarks that contrasted with other members that have raised concerns over the deal.
“The purchase of military equipment by Turkey is a sovereign choice that does not need to be commented [upon] by members of the Atlantic alliance,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne said in response to a question.
The French comments came a day before the country’s foreign minister began a two-day visit to Turkey, where he is scheduled to discuss regional issues and in particular promoting a new peace initiative on Syria.
Turkey said it opted for the S-400 because Western companies had offered no “financially effective” alternative. But some NATO officials have voiced disquiet over the purchase of missiles incompatible with alliance systems.