ANKARA: Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said it would be “very problematic” for Ankara to reverse its purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems, but expressed hope that a dispute with the United States on the issue could be resolved through dialogue.
Akar also recalled that Turkey is in talks with Russia to secure a second shipment of S400 defense systems.
Washington imposed sanctions on NATO ally Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief Ismail Demir and three other employees last month following its acquisition of the S- 400.
“It’s a very problematic situation to come back from where we are. We invite (the United States) to distance itself from threatening remarks such as sanctions, ”Akar told reporters in Ankara.
“We want the solution of problems through dialogue. If the American side wants a solution, a solution could be found with work at the technical level, ”he said.
The sanctions were imposed at a difficult time in the strained relationship between Ankara and Washington. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to take office on January 20, replacing Donald Trump. Biden has criticized President Tayyip Erdogan’s policies in the past.
Turkey defended its acquisition of the S-400s as a necessity because it was unable to procure air defense systems from a NATO ally on satisfactory terms.
Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO’s larger defense systems. Turkey rejects this and says the S-400 will not be integrated into NATO.