Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Turkey threatens to retaliate to US sanctions over S-400 purchase

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu rules out backtracking on deal with Russia

Turkey remains adamant that they are going ahead with the purchase of Russia's S-400 surface-to-air missile system. AFP
Turkey remains adamant that they are going ahead with the purchase of Russia's S-400 surface-to-air missile system. AFP

Turkey will "take reciprocal steps" if the United States imposes sanctions over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defences, the Turkish foreign minister said on Friday, marking the latest step toward a standoff between the Nato allies.

"If the United States takes any negative actions towards us, we will also take reciprocal steps," Mevlut Cavusoglu said when asked about possible US sanctions in an interview broadcast on Turkish TV.

Ankara and Washington have sparred publicly for months over Turkey's purchase of the S-400 missile systems, expected to be delivered as early as next month. Washington has said that would trigger US sanctions and sent a letter warning that Ankara would be pulled out of the F-35 jet programme.

US officials said earlier this month that Turkish pilots were no longer taking part in the F-35 training programme.

"We are determined on the S-400 issue. No matter what the results will be, we will not take a step back," Mr Cavusoglu said, adding that it was impossible to cancel the order.

The S-400s are not compatible with Nato's defence systems and Washington says they would compromise its F-35s, which Turkey also plans to buy. Turkey has proposed that the allies form a working group to asses the impact of the S-400s, but has yet to receive a response from the United States.

Updated: June 14, 2019 12:49 PM

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