It is possible for longtime NATO allies Turkey and the United States to reach an amicable deal over Ankara’s deal to purchase Russian-made missile defense systems, despite growing animosity between Washington and Ankara, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday.
"It is well known there is a disagreement between the United States and Turkey on this issue," he said at the Heritage Foundation event in Washington, DC on Friday.
"Yes, there is a problem, there is a challenge with the decision to buy S-400 combined with [US fifth generation jets] F-35," Stoltenberg said. "I welcome the dialogue this addressed, but at the same time, I think it is important to recognize the importance Turkey is playing to the whole alliance.
Stoltenberg said a decision regarding what kind of military capabilities to acquire is a national one, but NATO’s concern is interoperability.
"I hope that it's possible to find a solution because what we see now is a challenge for all of us that there is this disagreement on the issue of S-400," he said. "NATO has been a kind of platform for this dialogue. Turkey is a very important ally for NATO for many reasons, but not least for its geographic location."
NATO has served as a platform for direct talks between the United States and Turkey to address the issue surrounding the procurement of the S-400.
US officials have warned that if Ankara goes ahead with its plans to purchase the S-400 system, the United States could withhold the transfer of F-35 jets to Turkey. In addition, the US Congress recently passed legislation that would block the transfer of F-35 jets if Turkey buys the S-400.
In December 2017, Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement for Moscow to supply Ankara with the S-400.
Earlier this month, Turkish President Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed that Turkey expects to receive the S-400 in the near future.