President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has questioned the Turkey-US alliance after Washington announced sanctions on Ankara over the purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems.
During a televised statement, the Turkish leader criticized the Trump administration for issuing further sanctions, labelling it an attack on the country’s sovereignty and declaring that his government will continue to strengthen its defense systems regardless of the consequences.
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.
The US imposed the sanctions on Monday under CAATSA, the US Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, marking the first time that it has taken such a step against a NATO ally. It comes amid heightened tensions between Western countries and Ankara over Turkey’s actions in the Middle East and Northern Cyprus.
Explaining the decision, US State Department Assistant Secretary Chris Ford said, “We very much regret that this has been necessary and we very much hope that Turkey will work with us to resolve the 400 problem as quickly as possible.”
CAATSA seeks to discourage governments from signing military deals with Russia, in an attempt to reduce Moscow’s influence across Eurasia. The legislation also targets Iran and North Korea, imposing similar restrictions.
This is not the first time America has attempted to punish Turkey for purchasing military equipment from Russia. Last year, the US removed Ankara from its F-35 fighter jets program after it took delivery of the first parts of the S-400 system.
America’s actions were sparked by its concern that accepting the S-400 could allow Russia to secretly gather confidential information about the US-made Lockheed Martin F-35s. Turkey has repeatedly rebuffed these concerns, seeking to reassure the West that the defense system and fighter jets will not be integrated.