S-400 purchase will have “serious consequences” for Turkey – U.S. NATO ambassador

Ankara’s recent close relations with Moscow and purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems are “worrying” issues that are seriously impacting Turkey’s place in the NATO alliance, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told German state news agency DW’s Turkish language site.

“Turkey has been a strong ally for us in NATO, but we are very worried at the point that we have come to,” said Hutchinson.

Those worries stem in large part from the Turkish drift towards Russia, which has seen Turkey break with precedent to purchase Russian S-400 missile defence systems, which some experts fear could threaten the interoperability of NATO’s integrated defence systems.

“The Russian missile system represents an obstacle to our ability to work together comprehensively as a whole,” said Hutchinson.

“Our comprehensive collaboration model with Turkey, with whom we run diverse operations involving aircraft and a great many personnel, will be impacted in the event that it possesses a defence system from Russia, which is not a member of NATO,” she added.

Turkey “must be aware” of the serious consequences entailed by the purchase of equipment from Russia, a well-known opponent of NATO, said the U.S. representative.

“We hope Turkey reevaluates this decision,” said Hutchinson. “We want to see Turkey as a strong ally both of the United States and NATO, as it has always been.”

The representative added that Turkey’s bilateral relations with the United States were facing “a serious problem” as a result of the S-400 purchase. Hutchison said, "there is a law of sanction against those countries who buy military equipment from Russia. This sanction law cannot be disregarded for anyone."

While the purchase of S-400 systems, agreed last December, represents a significant step in Russian-Turkish relations, recent cooperation between the countries took new dimensions when Moscow granted Turkey the go-ahead to launch a military operation in northern Syria in January.

“Operation Olive Branch,” which was launched against predominantly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces in northwest Syria, brought Turkey’s Syrian policy into conflict with the United States, which considers the YPG an ally, and led the way to further cooperation in Syria between Turkey, Russia and Iran.