Turkey will not turn back on its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems and will take reciprocal steps after evaluating the U.S. sanctions imposed because of the acquisition, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.
In an interview with broadcaster Kanal 24, Cavusoglu said the sanctions’ decision was wrong legally and politically and was an attack on Turkey‘s sovereign rights, adding that the measures would have no impact on Ankara.
Turkey says its purchase of the S-400s was not a choice, but rather a necessity as 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.
On Wednesday, Ankara repeated that the U.S. concerns had no technical basis ad that it still produced close to 1,000 parts for the F-35 jets, despite being removed from the programme over the S-400 purchase. Turkey had also been due to buy more than 100 F-35 jets.
The sanctions come at a delicate moment in the fraught relations between Ankara and Washington as Democratic President-elect Joe Biden gears up to take office on Jan. 20, replacing Republican incumbent Donald Trump.