Ankara’s tough position on the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile systems proves that Turkey refuses to be dictated, Russian Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachev told on Thursday. However, in his view, Turkey is unlikely to be expelled from NATO over its stance.
US Vice President Michael Pence said at a NATO 70th anniversary event on Wednesday that Turkey must make a choice. “Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history, or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making such reckless decisions that undermine our alliance?” he said.
“I believe that NATO’s Washington meeting will not make any of the parties change its position, debates will continue. Turkey will neither leave nor be expelled from NATO,” Kosachev pointed out. “However, the very war of words with Washington confirms that Ankara realizes its military and political significance and refuses to be dictated,” the Russian senator pointed out.
He said that Pence had, in fact, given an ultimatum to Turkey. “It certainly has nothing to do with the alleged technical incompatibilities between Russian and NATO weapons, so Turkey made it clear by giving a Pence-style response: it is the US that has to choose whether it wants to remain Turkey’s ally or risk friendly relations, joining forces with terrorists to undermine Ankara’s security. It is a clear hint at the United States’ support for the Kurdish armed units in Syria,” Kosachev noted.
According to the senior Russian senator, Ankara has taken a tough stance because “it has more powerful cards up his sleeve.” In particular, Turkey is a most important NATO member in the Black Sea region.
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“Simply speaking, NATO needs Turkey more than Turkey needs NATO because the Alliance can provide little help to Ankara in resolving the issues it is facing. At the same time, Turkey is not inclined to support the hysteria built on the alleged ‘Russian threat,’ and the S-400 deal is another proof of that,” Kosachev emphasized.