ANKARA --- Turkey said on Wednesday it would retaliate against any U.S. sanctions over its purchase of Russian defense systems, adding that with Britain it had agreed to speed up a joint fighter jet program to meet Turkish defense needs.
U.S. lawmakers will vote - and likely pass - a defense bill later on Wednesday that calls for sanctions against Turkey over Ankara’s decision to procure the S-400 defenses.
Turkey and the United States, NATO allies, have been at odds over the purchase.
Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and cannot be integrated into NATO defenses. In response, it has suspended Turkey from the F-35 jet program, where it was a manufacturer and buyer, and threatened sanctions.
In an interview with Turkish broadcaster A Haber, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said any U.S. sanctions would harm U.S.-Turkish ties and repeated a threat of retaliation.
“U.S. lawmakers must understand they will get nowhere with impositions. If the United States approaches us positively, we will also react positively. But, if they take negative towards us, then we will retaliate these,” Cavusoglu said. (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: Cavusoglu has been much more forthright in previous interviews, for example telling Anadolu Agency earlier this week that US access to two major bases in Turkey could be closed down in retaliation.
"Incirlik and Kürecik air bases can be brought to the agenda" if sanctions are introduced, he said.)