Turkey proposes ‘Greek model’ to resolve S-400 spat with US

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Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar says the S-400s don’t have to remain active at all times, but they could rather operate as NATO member Greece uses its S-300s – occasionally.

Turkey will propose only partially activating its Russian S-400s in negotiations with the United States, which sanctioned Ankara over the air defence systems late last year, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has said.

“We don’t have to use them constantly,” Akar was quoted as telling reporters on Tuesday, nodding to Greece’s use of its Russian-made S-300s, which are predecessor missiles stationed on the island of Crete.

In December, Washington sanctioned Ankara for acquiring the S-400s on grounds they threaten its F-35 fighter jets and are incompatible with shared NATO defences. 

Turkey rejects this and says the systems will stand independently from NATO defences.

Since Joe Biden was elected US president, Ankara has said it wants better ties and again proposed an S-400 joint working group. 

But Washington has repeatedly rejected that and says sanctions will remain until Turkey no longer possesses the missiles.

‘Ankara open to negotiations’

On Tuesday, Akar said the S-400s did not have to remain active at all times but could rather operate as NATO member Greece uses its S-300s. 

“This is what we said, whichever model is being used for the S-300s in Crete, we will open this to negotiations,” he was cited as saying by the Hurriyet daily.

“We have said these talks could be held under the umbrella of NATO. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also said he viewed this issue positively,” he said. 

“These systems are used depending on the threat situation.”

The United States also removed Turkey from its F-35 programme, in which Ankara was manufacturer and buyer, over the acquisition of the S-400s in mid-2019.

Turkey has said it had no other suitable defence option.

In a phone call last week that marked the first official contact between the allies since Biden took office, Turkish presidential adviser Ibrahim Kalin told US national security adviser Jake Sullivan the S-400 dispute needed a resolution.

Source: TRT

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