Turkey ready to discuss technical concerns of US over S-400s: Defense minister
Turkey is ready to address the technical concerns of the U.S. over the compatibility of the S-400 and F-35 aircraft, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Nov. 11, noting that the joint working group proposal is still on the table.
“We’re ready to discuss the technical concerns of the U.S. on the compatibility of S-400s and F-35s,” Akar told the members of the Turkish Parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee.
He called on the U.S. to form a joint working group on the compatibility of the S-400 system and F-35 stealth fighter jets.
Akar also said that Turkey would continue the control and preparation process of the S-400 system as planned.
“Trial and system controls are included in every defense procurement program. These procedures are part of the procurement program and are a purely technical activity. In this context, we continue the controls and preparations of the system that we procured, as planned,” Akar stated.
The NATO member Turkey will use its Russian-made S-400 missile defense system just as other members of the alliance use their S-300 defense systems, the defense minister said.
“Just as the S-300 [missile defense] system, which exists in some NATO member states, is used in NATO alliance, the S-400 system will also be used [in Turkey] in the same way,” he stated, referring to Greece who procured S-300 systems but kept them inactive.
The U.S. officially removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter program in July 2019 over Ankara’s decision to buy the advanced Russian air defense system.
The minister also touched upon the disagreements in the eastern Mediterranean and said Turkey was determined to defend its rights in the region.
“Within the framework of our rights stemming from international law, we are determined to stand against the internment effort which aimed to enclave Turkey in the territorial waters in the Aegean Sea and the Gulf of Antalya in the eastern Mediterranean,” he stated.