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Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 22:48
Erdogan says US sanctions an attack on Turkey's rights
By Reuters
Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 22:48 By Reuters

President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he gives a press conference after the cabinet meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey, on Sept 21, 2020. (ADEM ALTAN / AFP)

ANKARA - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that US sanctions imposed on Turkey over its purchase of Russian defence systems were an attack on Ankara’s sovereign rights aimed at deterring its defence industry, a move which he said was bound to fail.

On Monday, Washington imposed the sanctions targeting NATO member Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief Ismail Demir and three other employees over its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.

On Monday, Washington imposed the sanctions targeting NATO member Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief Ismail Demir and three other employees over its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defense systems

ALSO READ: US announces sanctions against Turkey over S-400 purchase

In his first public comments on the move, Erdogan said that problems stemming from the sanctions would be overcome and vowed to ramp up efforts towards an independent defence industry, while criticising Washington for sanctioning a NATO ally.

“What kind of alliance is this? What kind of partnership is this? This decision is an open hostile attack against our country’s sovereign rights,” he said in a televised address.

“The real goal is to block the advances our country started in the defence industry recently and to once again render us absolutely dependent on them,” he added.

“Surely there will be problems, but each problem will push open a door for us for a solution.”

ALSO READ: Russian missiles a sideshow in Turkey-US disputes, aide says

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, Erdogan repeated that the US concerns had no technical basis.

He added that Ankara 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.

Ending his remarks, Erdogan unveiled footage of Turkey’s new domestic missile defence system, HISAR-A+, which he said had been delayed due to an embargo on a part Turkey was importing. He did not say which country Turkey was importing from.

READ MORE: Erdogan says Turkey tested Russian S-400s, shrugs off US objections

“Thank God, Turkey has long left behind the period of being stuck by such sanctions,” he said.


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