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USA threatens Turkey with sanctions, possible removal from F-35 program

USA threatens Turkey with sanctions, possible removal from F-35 program”

Ankara's resilience against USA pressure over the purchase of the S-400 systems remains rock solid, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan clarified on Wednesday, stressing that Turkey is a sovereign nation which has the right to choose its trade partners and arms suppliers.

On Tuesday, a US State Department spokesperson again warned that Turkey may be slapped with secondary sanctions and lose access to the F-35 fighter plane if it went ahead with its plans to purchase the S-400.

General Curtis Scaparrotti, head of US European Command, said this week that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation security and US-Turkish relations would be severely compromised should Mr Erdogan go ahead with the $2.5 billion deal. But Congress previous year ordered a delay in future deliveries.

The United States has warned that procuring the S-400 systems from Russian Federation could jeopardise defence industry deals between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, and this week chose to end preferential trade with Turkey.

In an interview with Kanal 24 television late Wednesday, Erdogan also said Turkey could consider purchasing the more advanced Russian S-500 system in the future. They have warned Ankara that Turkey risked both jeopardising its purchase of Lockheed Martin F-35 jets from the United States and having sanctions imposed.

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Erdogan said last July that he suggested joint production of S-500 systems to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The same day, US European Command chief Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti told lawmakers from the Senate Armed Services Committee that he didn't recommend delivering F-35s to Turkey if it didn't abort its S-400 deal with Russian Federation.

We're an independent country, not slaves.

"We can't say "yes" to giving control of the safe zone to anyone but Turkey", Erdogan said.

Despite the grievances, Erdogan also struck an optimistic note by speaking favourably about Trump. "I believe discussions that I will hold with him, and discussions between Mr Berat and Kushner, will put things back on track".



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