Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Tuvan Gumrukcu / Reuters – 2018-05-07 21:06:29
Turkey Threatens Retaliation If US Halts Arms Sales
New NDAA would halt weapons sales to Turkey
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(May 6, 2018) — Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is warning that Turkey is prepared to retaliate against the United States if Congress goes through with a plan to halt the sales of US weapons to Turkey. Cavusoglu added that “the US needs to let go of this.”
At present, language temporary halting arms sales to Turkey is in the newest military spending bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It would halt all sales until the Pentagon completes a report to Congress on the status of the relationship between the US and Turkey.
The relationship isn’t great between the two NATO members. Turkey has been openly threatening to attack US forces within Syria for backing the Kurdish YPG. The US is also irked that Turkey recently bought a Russian S-400 air defense system, choosing it over more expensive US-made options.
It makes sense that Congress would be leery of selling Turkey arms that might soon be used against US forces in northern Syria. At the same time, Turkey is offering to buy over 100 F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin, and that sort of purchase covers up a lot of concerns.
Cavusoglu insisted Turkey is “not a country under your orders” and would not accept the US Congress telling them what they can and can’t buy. He did not specify what Turkey’s retaliation would be if the ban is put into place.
Turkey Says It Will Retaliate
If the US Halts Weapons Sales
Tuvan Gumrukcu / Reuters
ANKARA (May 6, 2018) — Turkey will retaliate if the United States enacts a proposed law that would halt weapons sales to the country, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday.
Lawmakers in the US House of Representatives released details on Friday of a $717 billion annual defense policy bill, including a measure to temporarily halt weapons sales to Turkey.
In an interview with broadcaster CNN Turk, Cavusoglu said the measures in the bill were wrong, illogical and not fitting between the NATO allies.
“If the United States imposes sanctions on us or takes such a step, Turkey will absolutely retaliate,” Cavusoglu said. “What needs to be done is the US needs to let go of this.”
The proposed US National Defense Authorization Act, which is several steps from becoming law, would ask the Defense Department to provide Congress with a report on the relationship between the United States and Turkey, and would block the sale of major defense equipment until the report was complete.
Turkey plans to buy more than 100 of Lockheed Martin’s (LMT.N) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, and is also in talks with Washington over the purchase of Patriot missiles.
Turkey signed an agreement with Russia in December to buy S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries as part of Ankara’s plans to boost its defense capabilities amid threats from Kurdish and Islamist militants at home and conflicts across its borders in Syria and Iraq.
The move to buy S-400s, which are incompatible with the NATO systems, has unnerved NATO member countries, which are already wary of Moscow’s military presence in the Middle East, prompting NATO officials to warn Turkey of unspecified consequences.
Cavusoglu dismissed the warnings, saying Turkey’s relations and agreements with Russia were not an alternative to its ties with the West and accused the United States of trying to control Turkey’s actions.
“Turkey is not a country under your orders, it is an independent country… Speaking to such a country from above, dictating what it can and cannot buy, is not a correct approach and does not fit our alliance,” he said.
Relations between Ankara and Washington have been strained over a host of issues in recent months, including US policy in Syria and a number of legal cases against Turkish and US nationals being held in the two countries.
Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Cavusoglu that the United States was seriously concerned over Ankara’s decision to buy the Russian S-400 missile batteries.
Cavusoglu said he would visit the United States next week to meet Pompeo, but added a specific date had not been set yet.
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