Turkey warns US against harmful steps over Russian S-400 systems

Ankara: Turkey has called on the United States to refrain from steps that could harm bilateral relations after the US State Department said Ankara would face “real and negative consequences” in case it presses ahead with plans to acquire advanced Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems.

Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy said a statement on Wednesday that the latest remarks by State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus were not in line with the spirit and content of talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Donald Trump during the G20 summit in the Japanese port city of Osaka last month.

“We are inviting the US to avoid taking the wrong steps which would exclude diplomacy and dialogue and harm relations,” Aksoy noted.

He further noted that Ankara had still not received a response from Washington to its proposal to set up a working group to look into the impact of the S-400 purchase.

On Tuesday, Ortagus renewed US warning to Ankara that there would be consequences if it completes the purchase of the S-400.

“Those consequences include participation in the F-35 program,” she told reporters, adding that Turkish officials were fully aware of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

The US Congress passed the CAATSA against Russia in August 2017 over allegations of interfering in the 2016 presidential election. The law, among other things, imposes sanctions on countries and companies that engage in contracts to purchase weaponry from Russia.

Erdogan said after meeting Trump last month that he was confident Turkey would not face sanctions for the S-400 purchase.

After the meeting, Trump appeared convinced by the Turkish leader’s assertion that former US president Barack Obama did not allow Ankara to buy Patriot surface-to-air missile systems.

“You can’t do business that way. It’s not good,” Trump said at the time.

Moscow and Ankara finalized an agreement on the delivery of the S-400 in December 2017.

Back in April 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said in Ankara that they had agreed to expedite the delivery of the S-400. At the time, it was said that the delivery could be made between late 2019 and early 2020.

AlamulKhabar World