Trump wants row with Turkey to linger until US elections: Turkish FM
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has accused U.S. President Donald Trump of not taking sincere steps in overcoming the latest tension between two countries, stating that the U.S. president was using the tension for his benefit in the upcoming mid-term elections in the U.S.
“It seems that the U.S. does not want to solve these problems. They want to use these subjects in the elections,” Çavuşoğlu said in a joint press conference with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic after the opening of the Honorary Consulate of Serbia in the southern province of Antalya on Aug. 19.
“But we do not have any problems with the people of the U.S. who have started to see the reality. It should be the people of the U.S. that will give the necessary response, not us,” Çavuşoğlu added.
His comments come at a time when Turkey and the U.S. are experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions on two government ministers and doubling tariffs on aluminum and steel for not releasing American pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.
Çavuşoğlu criticized the U.S., stating that Turkey is “against the understanding of imposition,” and “prefers diplomacy in solving problems,” while the “U.S. prefers threats.”
“I told them that they do not want to solve these problems and that they are manipulating them for their domestic political concerns. I told them that they want to linger this until the elections because it is impossible to explain this attitude against such a constructive attitude,” he said.
Çavuşoğu also stated that the joint venture of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will continue as the temporary postponement of the delivery of the planes will “not bring active restraint.”
“It is not a process that one party can give up by saying that ‘Turkey should be out.’ Turkey might say that it will not be a part anymore but it is not that easy. It is a project that everybody is a partner in and will continue,” he said.
U.S. legislation temporarily banned the delivery of the F-35s to Turkey on Aug. 13, prompting criticism from Turkey.