US lawmakers suspect that Turkey has operated the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system to track F-16 fighters belonging to member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), according to a report from the US newspaper, The Washington Examiner.
The report quoted Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute as saying that the whole problem with integrating the S-400 is that in order to do that, you have to present some codes and some NATO technology as a basis for the Russians and it looks like this is what they did.
Western officials view with concern Turkey’s shift to Russian arms dealers in recent years, but despite the threat of US sanctions, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has completed the agreement with Russia to acquire the system.
As a result, President Donald Trump’s administration expelled Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
But the recent confrontation between Turkey and Greece created an opportunity for Ankara to direct Russian weapons to US-made F-16s.
Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a podcast on Thursday hosted by the Greek American Command Council: “We have very reliable reports that Turkey activated the S-400 in late August in response to the joint military exercises being conducted by Greece, Cyprus and Italy.
France is in the eastern Mediterranean”.
These four countries, all of which are members of the European Union and NATO, are coordinating to force Erdogan to back down in disputes over control of energy-rich waters in the eastern Mediterranean.
The newspaper report said that reports in the Greek media indicated that Ankara operated a system, but concern also appeared in Washington, prompting Van Hollen and Republican Senator for Oklahoma James Lankford to send a message to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that “recent reports about Turkey activating the system S-400 to detect the US F-16 confirms our serious concerns about Russia’s ability to access sensitive data”.
Greece and Turkey, members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), are fighting over the exploitation of the wealth of the eastern Mediterranean.
After a show of force and hostile statements in August, Ankara and Athens agreed in September to resume “exploratory talks” at a date to be determined.