Tensions between Turkey and the United States have reached a fever pitch in recent months over Ankara’s decision to go ahead with the purchase of Russian-built air defence systems, which Washington claims will jeopardise its NATO ally’s role in the F-35 fighter jet programme, possibly prompting sanctions.
Turkey will retaliate if the United States imposes sanctions on Ankara over its decision to acquire Russia’s S-400 air defence systems, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.
“One country cannot give instructions to another on how to act. The US should abandon this behaviour. Everyone is concerned about this. How far can it go? If the US takes steps against us, then we will be forced to take reciprocal steps”, he said in an interview with the channel NTV.
The foreign minister earlier said that “nobody” is in a position to issue Turkey ultimatums regarding its policy.
Cavusoglu’s remarks come shortly after Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin slammed a letter by US Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan to the Turkish Defence Minister that reportedly contains threats to remove Ankara from the F-35 pilot training programme over the S-400 deal.
“This letter contradicts the spirit of allied relations. Simultaneously with the sending of the letter, its content was disclosed to media. This is unacceptable for serious state affairs… Everyone must be sure that we will respond. The presidents of…