Turkey has vowed to use its own weapons to defend itself after the US slapped it with sanctions for buying Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, a punishment Ankara said had seriously diminished its relationship with Washington.
“All necessary measures will be taken and will be taken for the security of our country and our 83 million citizens, including air and missile defense, under a serious air and missile threat,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement on Monday.
It comes after the US imposed sanctions on the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) and its chairman Ismail Demir on Monday in response to Turkey procuring the S-400 missile system from Russia.
“This sanctions decision has shaken all the values of the alliance between our countries.”
Demir told reporters on Tuesday that he did not expect the US sanctions on him and the SSB “to affect our relationships too much” and described them as a warning.
On Tuesday Turkey received unexpected support from its neighbor Iran, despite the pair’s recent disputes, with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif slamming the US’ “addiction to sanctions.”
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the punishment from the US on Monday, saying Turkey expected support from its NATO ally, not sanctions.
Turkey purchased the long-range surface-to-air missiles in 2017, claiming that the US and other NATO members had not given it the arms it required. It started receiving the weapons last year.
Before imposing the sanctions on Turkey, Washington had excluded the country from its F-35 fighter jet program and repeatedly called for Ankara to drop its S-400 deal with Russia, claiming the system would undermine the power of NATO and allow Russia to spy on the organization.
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