Turkey is not the first NATO country to buy the S-400 air defense system, Russian military experts said arguing with the false claim that Greece has already bought such a system.
Speaking at a meeting on “Russian-Turkish Relations and Regional Security: Erdogan’s visit to Moscow,” Vladimir Yevseyev said Greece was the first NATO country to buy the system and it was not criticized or sanctioned for that, Turkish told state news agency anadolu reports on Wednesday.
“If Greece buys it, Turkey can also buy the S-400 system. Turkey has the right to be independent of the U.S. on the issue of weapons purchases,” he said.
Of course, Greece has never purchased the S-400 defense system. Two years ago, during a visit of then Defense Minister Panos Kammenos to Moscow, the Russian side proposed to upgrade the S-300 system so that it can “reach the operational capabilities of the S-400 missile and anti-aircraft system.”
According to Yevseyev, the S-400 system surpasses the U.S. Patriot air defense system on some parameters, including target detection.
Yevseve’s claims come amid a row between Ankara and Washington over the S-400 purchase. The USA have already frozen the delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.
Turkish foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu threatened that Turkey could buy more S-400s or other air defense systems if the US no longer sells the Patriot systems and Ankara would have to meet its defense needs elsewhere.
In an exclusive interview with private NTV on Wednesday, Cavusoglu he said Turkey would look for alternatives for a next-generation fighter aircraft until it was able to build its own instead of the F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter program, leaving the Americans exposed.
He said further that “it is absurd to challenge Turkey’s participation in NATO because of the S-400 agreement with Moscow, especially when some NATO countries have Russian S-300 missiles and this is not in conflict in their capacity as member states of the Alliance.”
The hint to Greece was clear. It was the Cypriot government that transferred two Russian S-300 air-defense missiles systems to Greece in 1998 after their purchase a year earlier triggered a political standoff between Cyprus and Turkey.
Greece’s Hellenic Air Force installed the system on the island of Crete.