Ankara’s 2017 decision to purchase $2.5 billion worth of S-400 air defence systems from Moscow caused serious complications in its relationship with its US allies, with Washington booting Turkey out of the F-35 programme and sanctioning a key defence sector agency.
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar expects that Ankara will be able to “find a solution” to the S-400 dispute with Washington, hinting that an arrangement like the one Greece has with its S-300s could be applied to Turkey.
“We’ve said this before, whatever the model used for the S-300 on Crete, we’re open to negotiating”, Akar told Hurriyet on Tuesday.
Akar went on to recall that apart from the United States, no other NATO member has expressed concerns to Turkey over its S-400s. He also noted that Greece’s S-300s weren’t the only instance of a NATO country operating Russian-made equipment. “Many European countries which became members of the Warsaw Pact and later joined NATO still have Soviet-era weapons. These weapons are also kept in the system within NATO”, he said.
Greece has one regiment of S-300 PMU1 systems, acquiring it in the late 1990s in the aftermath of the Cypriot missile crisis, which came about after Cyprus announced plans to install Russian-bought S-300s at two sites on the island. The move led to threats of all-out war by Turkey, which continues to control the northern part of the island. The crisis…