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Pentagon comments on Ankara's decision to buy Russian S-400 missile systems
The United States is displeased with Ankara's decision to buy Russian S-400 missile systems, US Department of Defense Spokesperson Johnny Michael indicated to a TASS correspondent on Tuesday in no uncertain terms when asked to comment on reports about Turkey making a down payment for this air defense missile system.
"We have relayed our concerns to Turkish officials regarding the potential purchase of the S-400," he said. "We have an open dialogue on this issue, and have emphasized the importance of maintaining NATO interoperability on any major defense systems procurements."·
"Turkey is a key NATO Ally, and we are committed to our strong defense partnership," he went on to say. "The United States and Turkey have a robust and significant defense-trade and military-sales relationship. Turkey continues to pursue anti-missile systems from NATO Allies, including the U.S., for its broader, long-term missile defense needs."
He repeated Washington's positions in discussions with Ankara concerning weapons purchases in countries that are not members of the North Atlantic Alliance, including Russia, that such weapons are incompatible with NATO's. "A NATO interoperable missile defense system remains the best option to defend Turkey from the full range of threats in its region," he said.
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis voiced this position at a press briefing in July. However he admitted that it was Ankara's sovereign decision.
Russia's S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the latest long-range antiaircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and can also be used against ground objectives. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 kilometers and at an altitude of up to 30 kilometers.
[Source: Itar Tass, Washington, 12Sep17]
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