“Turkey's contribution to NATO runs much deeper and much broader than the F-35," Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said.
Report informs citing Hurriyet that Stoltenberg was commenting on the US decision to remove Turkey from the F-35 stealth fighter program.
Speaking at the Aspen Institute's annual security forum in Colorado, Jens Stoltenberg said he was concerned over Turkey's expulsion. But according to him the role of Turkey is much broader than the F-35 or S-400
"The S-400, it’s not possible to integrate into the integrated NATO air defense and missile system, which is about sharing radar pictures, about joint air policing, which is about shared capabilities. And Turkey has not asked for that," Stoltenberg said.
"Turkey's contribution to NATO runs much deeper and much broader than the F-35. That is important," said Stoltenberg, adding the international coalition in Syria could have defeated Daesh "because of the contributions of Turkey".
"We used the bases, infrastructure and Turkey played a key part in that fight," he said, adding Turkish troops are contributing to different missions and operations, citing Kosovo and Afghanistan.
He also said that no other NATO member has raised the exclusion of Turkey from the F-35 program "because we all see that we are dependent on each other".
Stoltenberg reiterated that the S-400 could not become part of NATO's shared missile defense but Turkey has aircraft and radars that would remain part of the system.
"My responsibility is partly to try to help solve the issue. But as long as the issue is not solved, we need to minimize negative consequences," he added.