ANKARA – Turkey will retaliate if Washington imposes sanctions on the purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft defense systems, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
“One country cannot give instructions to another on how to act. The US must abandon this behavior. Everyone is concerned about this. How far can it go? If the US takes steps against us then we will be forced to do the same. Naturally, no one will be silent,” Cavusoglu said in an interview with NTV.
Earlier, Ankara stressed that it does not intend to stop buying S-400, with the first batch being shipped to Turkey in July. The US has said that the S-400 systems are incompatible with NATO standards, even threatening to impose sanctions if the purchase is completed, and delay or cancel the sale of F-35 fighters to Turkey.
As Foreign Policy magazine reported earlier, citing a June 6 letter, interim Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar that Turkish pilots, who are training to use F- 35 in the US, are due to leave the country until July 31, and the US will not accept new pilots for training.
The United States has not responded to Turkey’s proposal to set up a working group on the S-400 anti-aircraft systems that Ankara bought from Russia, Turkey’s Defense Industry Department head Ismail Demir said.
“The opposing party has yet to take any action to create a working group to examine this issue,” he told reporters.
At the same time, Demir pointed out that Turkey has a clear position on the S-400’s purchases and considers the issue “closed”.
However, he added, “if the US cares about the technical aspect of the subject, we are willing to discuss it.”
Turkey has repeatedly stated that it does not intend to cancel the $ 2.5 billion contract signed with Moscow in December 2017. The first delivery of the S-400 systems is due in July.
Washington threatened Ankara by imposing sanctions on the purchase of S-400 systems, as well as with the suspension of the delivery of F-35 fighters.
In addition, the United States claims that the Russian equipment is incompatible with NATO standards.