Turkey has condemned as “unacceptably threatening” a US House of Representatives resolution that slammed Ankara’s purchase of advanced Russian-built S-400 air defense missile systems and urged sanctions on Washington’s NATO ally over the acquisition of the military hardware.
“The bill passed through the US House of Representatives on June 10 does not comply with the rooted amity and alliance relations of Turkey and the US. It is not possible to accept the unfair and groundless claims of the bill about Turkey’s foreign policy and judicial system,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Tuesday.
The statement further noted it is an “unacceptable” decision, adding that using such a “menacing tone” is inadmissible.
“As we emphasize every time, the best way to allay the different point of views between allies goes through dialogue and respect for the countries’ sovereign decisions,” the statement underlined.
The US House of Representatives passed the bill entitled “Expressing concern for the United States-Turkey alliance” on Monday. The resolution is “non-binding,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s statement pointed out.
It underlined the importance of the allegiance between Washington and Ankara given Turkey’s role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and urged Turkey to reverse its decision to buy Russian S-400 missile defense systems.
It also called for sanctions if Turkish officials continue with their plans to acquire the systems.
US officials announced on Monday that Washington had halted the training of Turkish pilots on F-35 fighters at Luke Air Force Base in the US state of Arizona.
“The department is aware that the Turkish pilots at Luke AFB are not flying,” Air Force Lieutenant-Colonel Mike Andrews, a Pentagon spokesman, told Reuters news agency.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Turkish-language and nationwide Kanal 7 television network on May 5, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said US concerns as to Ankara’s purchase of S-400 systems from Moscow were not reasonable and added that Turkey would not back down.
On April 24, Turkey Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country will look elsewhere for an alternative to American F-35 fighter jets if Washington blocks the delivery of its advanced stealth warplanes to Ankara.
Moscow and Ankara finalized an agreement on the delivery of the S-400 in December 2017.
Back in April 2018, Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said in Ankara that they had agreed to expedite the delivery of the S-400. At the time, it was said that the delivery could be made between late 2019 and early 2020.
A number of NATO member states have criticized Turkey for its planned purchase of the S-400, arguing the missile batteries are not compatible with those of the military alliance.
They also argue that the purchase could jeopardize Ankara’s acquisition of F-35 fighter jets and possibly result in US sanctions.
The S-400 is an advanced Russian missile system designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away. It has previously been sold only to China and India.
Ankara is striving to boost its air defense, particularly after Washington decided in 2015 to withdraw its Patriot surface-to-air missile system from Turkish border with Syria, a move that weakened Turkey’s air defense.
Before gravitating towards Russia, the Turkish military reportedly walked out of a $3.4-billion contract for a similar Chinese system. The withdrawal took place under purported pressure from Washington.