Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed that US sanctions imposed on Turkey over its purchase of Russian defence systems were an attack on Ankara’s sovereign rights aimed at deterring its defence industry.
Erdogan says that problems stemming from the sanctions would be overcome.
On Monday, Washington imposed the sanctions targeting NATO member Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief Ismail Demir and three other employees over its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defence systems.
In his first public comments on the move, Erdogan vowed to ramp up efforts towards an independent defence industry while criticising Washington for sanctioning a NATO ally.
“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,” he said.
“The real goal is to block the advances our country started in the defence industry recently and to once again render us absolutely dependent on them,” the President added.
“Surely there will be problems, but each problem will push open a door for us for a solution.”
Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO’s broader defence systems. Turkey rejects this and says S-400s will not be integrated into NATO. On Wednesday, Erdogan repeated that the U.S. concerns had no technical basis.
He added that Ankara still produced close to 1,000 parts for the F-35 jets, despite being removed from the programme over the S-400 purchase. Turkey had also been due to buy more than 100 F-35 jets.
On the other hand, Pakistan on Wednesday expressed deep concern over the imposition of sanctions on Turkey by the United States.
In a statement, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said Pakistan remains opposed to the imposition of unilateral coercive measures against any country in principle.
The solution to all issues lies in dialogue, diplomacy and mutual understanding, added FO spokesperson.
“The people and the Government of Pakistan reiterate their strong support for the Government and the people of Turkey in their quest for national security, peace and prosperity, and as always, will continue to stand by them towards the achievement of these shared goals,” the FO statement reads.