Defense Minister Akar, NATO's Stoltenberg discuss Afghanistan, regional security issues

Published 20.06.2019 18:18
Updated 20.06.2019 18:50
emFile Photo/em
File Photo

Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar held a phone call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Turkish Defense Ministry said Thursday.

According to the ministry, Akar and Stoltenberg discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and regional security issues.

"The two parties talked about Afghanistan and other regional defense and security issues and agreed to discuss them in detail during the NATO Ministerial at the end of this month," the ministry said.

The meeting comes as NATO grapples with a dispute between alliance members the United States and Turkey over Ankara's decision to purchase a Russian air defense system.

Turkey has been at loggerheads with the United States for months over Ankara's planned purchase of the Russian missile defense system. Washington warned Turkey it would be excluded from the F-35 fighter jet program and could face sanctions unless it scraps the plan to buy the Russian S-400s.

Turkey decided in 2017 to purchase the S-400 system following protracted efforts to purchase air defense systems from the U.S. with no success.

However, U.S. officials have advised Turkey to buy the Patriot missile system rather than the S-400 system from Moscow, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge.

Turkey has emphasized that the S-400s would not be integrated into NATO operability and would not pose a threat to the alliance. It has also repeatedly said it was ready to discuss Washington's concerns. It proposed forming a joint working group with Washington to assess whether the S-400s would pose a threat to NATO; however, the U.S. has not taken any steps to form the technical team.

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