US Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley voiced Washington’s concerns when reporting to the Senate in a worldwide threat assessment on Tuesday.
In an interview with Sputnik, Berat Conkar, a parliamentary deputy from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, said that the progress in Ankara’s relations with Moscow should be viewed from the standpoint of ensuring regional security and stability.
“Turkish-Russian cooperation is not at variance with NATO’s security concept. On the contrary, NATO keeps playing up the importance of security and stability in the Mediterranean, on the Black Sea and in the Middle East as paramount for ensuring the security of Europe and the Atlantic region,” Conkar said.
He added that this was also contributing to the progress of the Geneva talks on Syria and the efforts to achieve a political solution to the conflict there.
“These are complementary lines of cooperation rather than antagonistic,” the Turkish MP observed.
In an interview with Sputnik, the former Turkish envoy to NATO, Onur Oymen agreed that Ankara’s current rapprochement with Moscow doesn’t have in mind ramping up tensions within NATO.
“As a NATO member-state, Turkey is defending our shared interests, but not all of Turkey’s NATO allies are equally sincere failing to assist in our war on terror, which is something we counted on. Moreover, they joined forces with terrorist organizations like the Democratic Union Party, thus undermining Turkey’s security interests,” he said.
He added that the development of Turkish-Russian relations will have no negative impact on NATO.
“It is wrong to think that since Turkey is a NATO member it can’t build up relations with anyone else. We have always honored our obligations as a NATO member. However, our desire to have good relations with other countries, dictated by our own political, economic and security interests, by no means contravenes our status as a NATO member or is a threat to the alliance’s structure,” Onur Oymen emphasized.
In December, Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement on the purchase of four batteries of Russian-made S-400 air defense missile systems.
The deal has become a major concern for NATO, with its Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller saying that the S-400 does not integrate with NATO members' systems, and NATO's Military Committee Chairman Petr Pavel warning that Ankara would have to face the “consequences of that decision.”