S-400 deployment inconsistent with Turkey's NATO ally status - U.S. spokesman
The U.S. government's policy regarding the Russian-made S-400 missile systems has not changed and their deployment is inconsistent with Turkey's status as a NATO ally, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Wednesday.
Price's remarks follow those of Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, who on Tuesday, for the first time, voiced a proposal in which he said if Washington severs its ties with the Syrian Kurds, Turkey could move away the weapons system, similar to how Greece relocated its S-300s in early 2000s.
Akar's proposal, which urges the White House to cut off its support for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian-Kurdish militia who were the main boots on the ground against the Islamic State (ISIS), in exchange of Turkey sending the S-400s away, did not get an answer from Price during Wednesday's briefing. Price simply repeated that Washington's position has not changed when asked about Akar's proposal.
Price said the S-400 weapon systems are incompatible with NATO equipment and a threat to the security of NATO technology while its purchase is also inconsistent with Turkey's commitments as a NATO ally. Price ended his comments by 'urging Turkey not to retain the system."
The language employed by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) also call for Turkey not to have the systems.
Price was also questioned about U.S. State of Secretary Antony Blinken's failure to call his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu since he was sworn in two weeks ago, despite the fact that he has talked to dozens of foreign counterparts. Price said he would expect the call will be happening in the upcoming days.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin, in an interview with CNN Interntional on Wednesday, said "We believe that we will open a new page with the Biden Administration."
Kalin had a call with Biden's National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, in which Sullivan expressed concerns over S-400 issue as well as underscored his administration commitment to the rule of law and democratic principals.
Kalin, in an interview on Jan. 10 with pro-Turkish government CNNTurk reminded that Biden, while serving as Obama's vice president, came to Turkey four times and knows the region, then added, "Our contacts with the transition team so far are very positive. They say they want to develop good relations with Turkey and turn a new page."