Turkey will retaliate against US sanctions over Russian S-400s: minister

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Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (L) and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo / AFP PHOTO / POOL / YVES HERMAN

Turkey will “take reciprocal steps” if the United States imposes sanctions over its purchase of a Russian S-400 air defense system, the Turkish foreign minister said on Friday, marking the latest step toward a standoff between the NATO allies, Reuters reported.

“If the United States takes any negative actions towards us, we will also take reciprocal steps,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said when asked about possible US sanctions in an interview broadcast on Turkish TV.

Ankara and Washington have sparred publicly for months over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile system, expected to be delivered as early as next month. Washington has said that would trigger US sanctions and sent a letter warning that Ankara would be pulled out of the F-35 jet program.

The Turkish lira weakened to as far as 5.93 against US dollar after the comment, its weakest level in two weeks.

“We are determined on the S-400 issue. No matter the results, we will not take a step back,” Çavuşoğlu said, adding it is impossible to cancel the order.

The S-400s are not compatible with NATO’s defense systems, and Washington says they would compromise its F-35s, which Turkey also plans to buy. Turkey has proposed that the allies form a working group to assess the impact of the S-400s but has yet to receive a response from the United States.

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