Turkey was “just an excuse” of a Russian missile-defense system for the US to implement sanctions designed to thwart Ankara’s efforts to reduce its dependence on the US defense industry, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
“The verdict is a blatant attack on the sovereign rights of our country,” Erdogan said in Ankara on Wednesday. “This is the first time against us, as a member of NATO. What kind of alliance is this? “
Turkey purchased Russian S-400 missiles in 2017, stating that the US was not ready to sell the equivalent system on acceptable terms. The first battery was delivered last year by US President Donald Trump to block bipartisan demands in the US Congress for long restrictive measures.
Ankara may have tightened the rope in October by testing missiles in defiance of US warnings, and on Monday announced sanctions approved by Trump.
“The allegation that the S-400 system is a threat to the F-35 fighter jet is just an excuse,” Erdogan said. “The real objective is to stop the leap started in the defense industry and make us dependent on them once again.”
The Turkish leader noted that his country had begun to develop its arms industry after 1975–1978, after which American weapons were significantly reduced to keep arms on Cyprus.
“We will make double efforts to make our defense industry independent in every sense,” he said, adding that a video has been circulated showing tests of the Hisar missile-defense system developed by state-run contractors. .
The sanctions cut Turkey’s top defense procurement agency from US financial institutions, military hardware and technology. New export licenses have been banned for transferring American goods or technology to the agency.
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