Turkey not to ‘retreat’ on S-400 issue: Presidential spokesperson
Turkey will not “retreat” on the issue of its procurement of the Russian-made S-400 systems, which prompted U.S. sanctions, Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said on Feb. 11.
The disagreement between Ankara and Washington turned out to be a matter of “Why are you making such an agreement with Russia?” Kalın told TRT broadcaster and noted, “Russia is an important actor in our geography. How you relate is important.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the new U.S. President Joe Biden may have a phone conversation in the upcoming weeks, he said.
The Biden administration took power with many new promises and statements it made and that they would take new steps after the Trump era, Kalın said. The spokesperson recalled his phone call with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan last week as the first contact with the new administration.
“We actually handled all the issues in detail there. So, it was a phone call that lasted about one hour,” Kalın said.
“We discussed in detail both the controversial issues and the issues with which we can act together.”
There were three main controversial issues in Turkish-U.S. relations, he noted.
“The S-400 issue and the implementation of CAATSA sanctions in connection with it and removing Turkey from the F-35 program. Secondly, the support the U.S. has given to the PYD/YPG since the [former President Barack] Obama era. Third, the FETÖ structure still continues its activities against Turkey freely in the U.S.,” he stated.
Kalın also urged the U.S. to end its support for the PYD/YPG group in Syria.
“The U.S. should end its support to the PYD/YPG. It should say ‘stop’ to FETÖ’s activities there,” he said.
The spokesperson also said that besides the issues that need to be worked on with the U.S., there were also areas where the two countries can act together.
“We cannot agree on the PYD in Syria, but let me say that we have many common grounds regarding the future of the [Bashar al-] Assad regime,” he said.
He noted that other areas of common ground such as in Iraq, the fight against terrorism in the region, the fight against ISIL, eastern Mediterranean as well as in Libya.
When asked about a possible conversation between Erdoğan and Biden, Kalin said the foreign ministers of the two counties will probably meet in the coming days.
“After that, let me say that in the coming weeks, there is no exact date right now, our president may have a meeting with Biden,” he added.