Ankara, Washington to discuss Russian S-400 issue next week, says Kalın

Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın on Tuesday said the country’s Russian S-400 missile system would not pose any threat to the U.S. F-35 fighter jet programme and Ankara will hold talks with the United States next week to overcome differences over Ankara’s procurement of the system.

Turkey’s use of the S-400s would not pose a threat to the F-35 fighter jet programme and that this could be proved by a detailed technical study, state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Kalın as saying during a panel discussion at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum.

“We will be talking about this next week at the NATO summit, we believe that those concerns can be addressed,” Kalın said, referring to alliance’s Dec. 3-4 summit set to take place in London.

The S-400 would be operated as a stand-alone platform and would not be integrated into NATO systems, Kalın said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing in Washington on Tuesday said that Washington remained concerned over reports that Turkey was testing the S-400 system.

“We’re still talking to the Turks.  We’re still trying to figure our way through this thing,’’ Pompeo said, adding, “we have made very clear to the Turkish Government our desire to see them move away from the – putting into full operationalization the S-400 weapon system’’.

“I’ve been mandated to follow this with my U.S. counterpart Robert O'Brien” Kalın said. “We will be talking about this next week at the NATO summit, we believe that those concerns can be addressed”.

“We believe that the S-400s will not pose any threat to the F-35 program. We do not want the F-35 program to be jeopardized by anything,” the presidential spokesman said.

Turkey in July began to take delivery of the Russian S-400 air-defence system, prompting the United States to remove Turkey from the F-35 fifth-generation joint strike fighter programme. 

Washington has also threatened Turkey with sanctions over the purchase.

Washington maintains the system is not compatible with that of NATO and could expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge.