S-400s are a bigger threat than S-300s- Pentagon says
S-400 missiles Turkey acquired from Russia create a bigger threat to NATO and the United States, than the S-300s, Pentagon spokesperson Thomas Campbell said.
All offers for the sale of the U.S. Patriots have been rejected by Turkey, Campbell added, the Voice of America reported on Saturday.
Relations between NATO allies Turkey and the United States have worsened over Turkey's purchase of S-400 air defence missiles from Russia, which Washington maintains are incompatible with the NATO alliance's defence systems. In response to Turkey’s purchase, the United States expelled Turkey from a programme to build and purchase the F-35 stealth fighter jets. Washington also imposed sanctions against officials of Turkey’s defence procurement agency in December.
In order to resolve the tension, Ankara has sent a letter to Washington, proposing a solution over S-400s of what Turkey calls the Crete model, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday, that the S-400s could be used “like the S-300s are”.
Following a crisis with Turkey in the 1990s, Cyprus handed over to Greece the S-300 missile systems it purchased from Russia, which were then positioned on the island of Crete in an inactive state.
Akar on Friday also said that, as of Turkey’s attempts to purchase Patriot missiles from the United States and SAMP-Ts from France and Italy have failed due to various reasons, Ankara then decided to purchase Russian S-400s which Moscow provided the conditions they have asked for, Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Campbell called on Turkey not to keep the Russian missiles.
“Such sales provide income and influence to the Russians. Turkey is a long-term and valuable NATO ally, but this issue is incompatible with Turkey's obligations to NATO,” he said.