Ankara, May 22: Turkish defence minister has on Tuesday said the country was preparing for potential US sanctions on its purchase of S-400 missile defence system made by Russia, even while the minister stated some improvement was noted in talks with the United States on purchasing F-35 fighter planes.
The US and Turkey have been at loggerheads over several issues including Ankara’s decision to purchase the Russian S-400s while rejecting Washington’s offer and warnings. The US said the purchase could jeopardize Ankara’s role in constructing Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, what Washington says would be compromised by Russian S-400s.
While the US has cautioned Turkey could face US sanctions under its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) if the nation presses on with Russian deal, Ankara has stated it expected US President Donald Trump to protect it.
According to Reuters news reports, while interacting with reporters on late Tuesday, defence minister Hulusi Akar stated Ankara was completing its responsibilities in the F-35 mission and expected it to continue as planned. He said purchasing Russian S-400s was only to meet the country’s defence needs and hence, posed on threats.
“We are doing whatever normal bilateral agreements mandate. Though there are some issues from time to time, we are pleased that there has been no sharp turn until now… Turkey is also making preparations for the potential implementation of CAATSA sanctions,” he said.
He added, “In our talks with the United States, we see a general easing and rapprochement on issues including the east of the Euphrates, F-35s and Patriots.”
Akar stated linking the purchase of S-400s with t-35 is “another hurdle” and also noted nine NATO allies have a stake