Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has stated that Turkey will retaliate if the US imposes sanctions on it over its purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system.
In an interview with the Turkish channel NTV today, Cavusoglu made a series of remarks reflecting the direction of Turkey’s foreign policy on a number of issues. On the possibility of sanctions imposed on Ankara by America over the S-400 deal, he declared that Turkey will “take reciprocal steps” in the case of such action, and stated that “one country cannot give instructions to another on how to act. The US should abandon this behaviour. Everyone is concerned about this.”
Since Turkey agreed to purchase Russia’s missile defence system, the US has pressured its long-time ally to withdraw the deal due to claims that it would compromise the security of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). It also stated that the technology is not compatible with the F-35 fighter jets that Turkey intends to buy from the US, and has halted the sale of the jets and the training programme for Turkish pilots. Ankara has refused to bow to US pressure, despite an ultimatum given that it halt the deal by the end of the first week of June.
A recent deal made between Greece, southern Cyprus and Israel regarding the reserves of natural gas off the Cyprus coast is “invalid”, Cavusoglu went on to say. The agreement would see a pipeline built which would stretch form the eastern Mediterranean to Europe. This is expected to earn Cyprus some $9.3 billion over 18 years of the reserve’s production.
In response, Turkey sent its own drilling vessels in to the area to carry out its own exploration for natural gas.