NATO cannot afford complacency such as Turkey S-400 purchase - General

Chairman of the NATO Military Committee General Petr Pavel of the Czech Republic said European countries need to avoid complacency in the alliance, and gave Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile defence system as one of the prime example of the challenges it faces, according to an article at defence news website Breaking Defence.

“It is hard to imagine that Russian experts will be sitting in a NATO ally and feeding a Russian system with NATO data,” Pavel said.

“Europe needs to mature and grow up and be more responsible for its own defence.”

Turkey has come under criticism for purchasing the S-400 Russian system, but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has pointed out that fellow NATO ally Greece already has the less-advanced S-300 systems for its own defence.

European countries should upgrade their capabilities to be able to handle a continent-level crisis in case the United States washes its hands of the continent, Pavel said.

According to Paul McLeary's article, the radar and missile system – which has yet to be delivered — will have to operate as a standalone unit, since it can’t be networked with any NATO technologies already in the country. Article reminds that the United States stores as many as 50 B61 gravity bombs in Turkey.

NATO and the U.S. officials have been warning Turkish officials that the S-400 air defence system is not interoperable with NATO systems.

The Trump administration signed a bill on Jan. 30th imposing new sanctions on Russian politicians and oligarchs, as part of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Several provisions of the act (CAATSA) gives the administration the mandate to sanction and cut off all U.S. arms sales to any country doing business with banned Russian firms, including the one that produces the S-400 defence system.

Turkish officials, however, maintain that the U.S. cannot sanction Turkey due to purchase of S-400.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused NATO partners for hypocrisy for not opposing the purchase of the S-300 by Greece, said “but you said that you will not let Turkey acquire S-400. You claimed that the contact with Russia was a mistake. You also said that you might introduce sanctions. We are not going to be accountable to you. We will proceed along the right way without any concessions for the sake of achieving our own goals.”