NATO member states are strongly opposed to Turkey’s decision to purchase a Chinese-built missile defense system, with one NATO official calling the missile system a “virus,” according to a report in the Turkish newspaper, the Hurriyet Daily News.
An unnamed NATO ambassador in Ankara, was even blunter, telling Hurriyet: “I have no idea why the Turks do not see the simple fact that the alliance’s security threat perception in the next 20 years is based on China. Air and missile defense will be the top defense issue in the foreseeable future, with China being under the magnifier.”
The Hurriyet article suggests that the main concern among NATO officials with Ankara’s purchase of the HQ-9 missile system is the lack of interoperability. In particular, the NATO officials interviewed expressed concern about integrating the HQ-9 with NATO’s Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) system, which operates on “Mode 5,” a code that enables the system to distinguish between friendly and adversary aircraft.
Meanwhile, State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, expressed concerns with the fact that the Chinese company involved in the deal has repeatedly been sanctioned by the U.S. for its deals with countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea. “The main concern here was that the Turkish government was having contract discussions with a U.S.-sanctioned company for a missile defense system that was not operable with NATO systems,” Psaki said.