Turkey urges dialogue with US after missile sanctions
14 Jan 2021
Hulusi Akar attends a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. File/Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said it would be “very problematic” for Ankara to turn back on its purchase of Russian S-400 defence systems but the country hopes it can end its standoff with the US through dialogue.
Akar also reiterated that Turkey was in talks with Russia on obtaining a second consignment of the S400 defence systems, according to Associated Press.
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Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400s has alarmed its NATO allies because of its ability to gather intelligence on western capabilities, as Washington slapped sanctions on NATO ally Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief Ismail Demir and three other employees last month.
“It is a very problematic situation to turn back from the point we have come to. We invite (the United States) to distance themselves from threatening language such as sanctions,” Akar told journalists in Ankara.
“We want the solution of problems through dialogue. If the US side wants a solution, a solution could be found with work on the technical level,” he said.
The sanctions were imposed at a challenging time in the fraught relationship between Ankara and Washington. President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office on Jan.20, replacing Donald Trump. Biden has been critical of President Tayyip Erdogan’s policies in the past.
Turkey has defended its acquisition of the S-400s as a necessity because it was unable to procure air defence systems from any NATO ally on satisfactory terms.
Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO’s broader defence systems. Turkey rejects this and says S-400s will not be integrated into NATO.