The sanctions created a wedge between the two NATO allies who disagreed on a variety of issues.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar called on the next Biden administration in the United States to engage in dialogue with Ankara and review the decision to sanction the country for its purchase of a Russian advanced air missile defense system.
“We’re saying don’t break things that way. Let’s sit down and talk and find a solution, ”Akar said Wednesday.
This request comes even though Washington has made it clear that there can be no waiver of sanctions until Ankara has Russian technology.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday night, Akar would not question whether Turkey would consider getting rid of Russia’s S-400 system under US pressure. But he said he hoped a solution could be found “through common sense before it gets to this point.”
“It’s a very problematic situation to come back from where we are. We invite [the US] to distance himself 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.
Second shipment of the S-400?
Akar also said talks with Russia about acquiring a second shipment of S-400s are continuing.
Relations between the two allies worsened when in April 2017 Turkey signed a contract with Russia to acquire the state-of-the-art missile defense shield after its protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the United States proved successful. vain.
US officials have expressed opposition to the contract, saying it would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35 planes to possible Russian subterfuge. Washington previously kicked Ankara out of its F-35 stealth aircraft program, saying their use alongside Russian technology would compromise the safety of fighter jets.
In mid-December, the US sanctioned four Turkish officials under a law known as CAATSA, which aims to push back Russian influence. The sanctions, which also included a ban on export licenses to Turkey’s defense industries presidency, was the first time the law has been used to punish a NATO ally.
Ties between the allies have been plagued by many other disputes, including the imprisonment of US citizens and local consular staff, US support for Syrian Kurdish fighters considered “terrorists” by Turkey, and the maintenance of residence report of a Muslim leader accused of organizing the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.
US officials have ruled out the possibility of talks with Turkey about the S-400’s risks to the F-35s. They also said that the sanctions could not be lifted as long as the Russian air defense system remains on Turkish soil.
Ankara has expressed its willingness to have “healthier” relations with the United States under the administration of President-elect Joe Biden. Last month the two countries started discussions to form a joint working group to discuss sanctions.
The Turkish defense minister said Turkey had no choice but to acquire the Russian air defense system after no NATO ally offered favorable terms. The Turkish government has also highlighted what it sees as a double standard, with NATO member Greece using Russian-made missiles.
Asked whether Turkey is considering purchasing Russian-made jets after it withdraws from the US fighter jets program, Akar said Turkey wants to “return” to the F-35 program and develop its own program. national fighter jets and modernize its F-16 fleet. Planes.
“We are part of NATO, we are with the European Union and the United States. Therefore, we want to be with Europe, with the United States and NATO for our defense and our security, ”he said.