The situation emerged after Ankara purchased the Russian S-400 missile systems does not affect Turkey’s relations with NATO, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Thailand on Tuesday. The video recording of the conversation was published by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
“We have no issue with NATO, when you look at the statements of the secretary general, even the deputy secretary general with regard to S-400s and other issues, it is not a problem to NATO. Turkey is in top five in contributions to NATO,” the diplomat said. “So, it [the issue of existing problems between Turkey and NATO] has been never raised at NATO summits.”
“It is more of a bilateral issue between Turkey and the United States,” Cavusoglu added.
The minister is visiting Thailand, where an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) ministerial meeting is taking place. Earlier, the Turkish Foreign Minister met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to discuss bilateral relations and regional issues.
In September 2017, Russia confirmed that the parties had signed a contract worth $2.5 billion to supply S-400 for Turkey. Under the contract, Ankara will get a regiment set of S-400 air defense missile systems (two battalions). The deal also envisages partial transfer of production technology to the Turkish side. The first procurements were delivered on July 12.
The United States and NATO have been making vigorous attempts to prevent Turkey from purchasing Russia’s S-400 missile systems. On July 17, the White House press secretary said in a statement that Turkey’s decision to acquire Russian-made S-400 air defense missile systems rendered Ankara’s further participation in the US F-35 fighter-bombers program impossible.