US sanctions over S-400 hostile attack on Turkey’s sovereignty: Erdoğan
The U.S. sanctions announced this week are a “blatant attack” on Turkish sovereignty, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 16.
“What kind of an alliance is this? This decision is an open attack on our sovereignty,” Erdoğan said at a highway opening ceremony via teleconference.
Pointing to the double standard in slapping such sanctions on Turkey, the president said Turkey is the first NATO member to face the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) sanctions from Washington.
The U.S. sanctions seek to make Turkey’s defense industry dependent, but Ankara is determined to boost its industry to the top, he added.
“After this decision of sanctions, we will accelerate our steps towards building a defense industry that will reach the level of global leadership in every field,” the president stated.
Turkey will not be deterred, but instead will work twice as hard to improve the defense sector and make it totally independent, he vowed.
“We will resolutely continue our fight against terrorism, cross-border operations and exports of defense industry products. Turkey has surpassed the point of staying locked up with such sanctions,” Erdoğan stated.
“Of course, there will be difficulties, but every problem will open a door for a solution,” he added.
Ankara gets good news from its defense industry, as local Hisar systems performed a test before entering the national inventory, he said.
“The last test was several months late. Under normal circumstances, an embargo was imposed on the part supplied from abroad. We developed the local part in a short time, integrated it into the missile and achieved results in a short time,” he added.
The U.S. on Dec.14 imposed sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. The sanctions target Turkey’s Defense Industries Presidency (SSB), including its president İsmail Demir and three other officials, along with a ban on all U.S. export licenses.
In April 2017, when its protracted efforts to buy an air defense system from the U.S. proved fruitless, Turkey signed a contract with Russia to acquire the S-400 shield. U.S. officials have voiced opposition to their deployment, claiming they would be incompatible with NATO systems and would expose F-35 jets to possible Russian subterfuge. Washington has removed Turkey from the F-35 fifth-generation joint strike fighter program.