Washington – AFP
The United States on Friday urged Ankara not to buy weapons from Moscow, under the threat of a deterioration in their relations, after tensions stemming from Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who on Wednesday met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the first time in 18 months, talked about the possibility of strengthening military cooperation between their two countries.
“We have urged Turkey at all levels and on all occasions not to keep the S-400 system and to refrain from purchasing any additional Russian military equipment,” US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told reporters when asked about Erdogan’s visit to Sochi.
“We continue to clearly inform Turkey of this, and tell it what the consequences will be if it goes in this direction,” Sherman said during a visit to Switzerland.
She reiterated once again that the S-400 system “is not compatible and cannot be used with NATO systems.”
NATO member Turkey defied US warnings by buying the S-400 anti-aircraft defense system from Russia, which raised fears in the alliance that this contract would allow Russia to improve its skills in targeting US or Western European aircraft.
In response, Washington imposed sanctions on Ankara and excluded it in 2019 from its F-35 fighter jet program, in which Turkish companies were participating and through which Ankara hoped to obtain up to 100 aircraft.
But Sherman stressed that the relationship with Turkey is important for the United States, noting Ankara’s reception of millions of Syrian refugees and the assistance it provides in managing Kabul International Airport.
“Turkey is sometimes a challenge,” Sherman said. “I’m sure they[the Turks]sometimes see the United States as a challenge. But they are an important NATO ally.”
Erdogan said Thursday that his relationship with Biden “did not start well.” Before taking office, the US president described his Turkish counterpart as an autocrat and expressed support for the Turkish opposition.
Washington – AFP