S-400: NATO-Stoltenberg says Turkey have serious differences

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on March 15 he has “serious concerns” over actions by member state Turkey, but insisted the alliance was an important platform for resolving disputes involving Ankara.

“I have expressed my serious concerns and we all know there are serious differences and some issues, ranging from the eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish decision to buy the Russian air defence system S-400 or related to democratic rights in Turkey,” Stoltenberg told lawmakers from the European Parliament.

“But I believe NATO at least can provide an important platform for discussing these issues, raising these issues and having serious debates and discussions about different concerns.”

The main tension points apart from the S-400 issue are Turkey’s stance in the maritime territorial dispute another NATO member country  Greece, its role in the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.

In December 2020 the outgoing Trump administration had announced sanctions on Turkey’s military procurement agency over Turkey’s purchase of S-400 missile defense systems from NATO rival Russia.

Now the new U.S. President Biden has not yet contacted President Erdogan as a way of keeping up the pressure over the purchase of the Russian made S-400 missile system.

NATO foreign ministers will gather next week in Brussels as a first face-to-face meeting involving Biden’s team.  Further comments about Turkey’s S-400 decision and tensions with Greece should be expected.