Erdogan says US sanctions a ‘hostile attack’ on Turkish rights as Greece praises the move

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Turkey’s President Erdogan said on Wednesday that US sanctions imposed on Turkey over its purchase of Russian defense systems were an attack on Ankara’s sovereign rights aimed at deterring its defense industry, a move which he said was bound to fail.

On Monday, Washington imposed the sanctions targeting NATO member Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief Ismail Demir and three other employees over its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defence systems.

READ MORE: US imposes sanctions on Turkey over purchase of Russian missile system.

Erdogan says US sanctions a ‘hostile attack’ on Turkish rights. Photo: Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool.

In his first public comments on the move, Erdogan said that problems stemming from the sanctions would be overcome and vowed to ramp up efforts towards an independent defence industry, while criticising Washington for sanctioning a NATO ally.

“What kind of alliance is this? What kind of partnership is this? This decision is an open hostile attack against our country’s sovereign rights,” Erdogan said in a televised address.

“The real goal is to block the advances our country started in the defence industry recently and to once again render us absolutely dependent on them,” he added. “Surely there will be problems, but each problem will push open a door for us for a solution.”

Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO’s broader defence systems. Turkey rejects this and says S-400s will not be integrated into NATO. On Wednesday, Erdogan repeated that the US concerns had no technical basis.

READ MORE: Greece to boost military with 18 French Rafale jets in 2021.

He added that Ankara still produced close to 1,000 parts for the F-35 jets, despite being removed from the program over the S-400 purchase. Turkey had also been due to buy more than 100 F-35 jets.

Ending his remarks, Erdogan unveiled footage of Turkey’s new domestic missile defence system, HISAR-A+, which he said had been delayed due to an embargo on a part Turkey was importing. He did not say which country Turkey was importing from.

Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, said on Wednesday that Washington’s decision to impose sanctions on Turkey was “necessary.” Photo: InTime News.

“Thank God Turkey has long left behind the period of being stuck by such sanctions,” he said.

In response to these comments, Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, said on Wednesday at the second Southeast Europe & East Med conference, that Washington’s decision to impose sanctions on Turkey was “necessary” as a means of underscoring that Ankara has “crossed the line,” not only with its acquisition of the S-400, but also with its behavior in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Dendias added his belief that the sanctions imposed by the United States, coupled with warnings issued at last week’s European Council meeting, may lead to what he described as a “period of calm” that would allow exploratory talks to recommence.

READ MORE: EU Summit: Leaders strike deal on landmark budget, virus recovery fund.

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