The United States imposed sanctions on Turkey, a NATO ally, following the acquisition of the Russian missile shield in 2017.
Turkey and the United States have started talks to form a joint task force to discuss the sanctions Washington has imposed on its NATO ally for its purchase of an advanced Russian air defense system, according to the Turkish minister. Foreign Affairs.
At a year-end press conference assessing Turkish foreign policy, Mevlut Cavusoglu also told reporters on Wednesday that Turkey wants “healthier” relations with the United States under the administration of President-elect Joe Biden .
Ties between the two allies worsened when in April 2017 Turkey signed a contract with Russia to acquire the state-of-the-art missile shield after its protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the United States proved vain.
U.S. officials have expressed opposition to the contract, saying it would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose 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.
Turkey, however, stressed that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and pose no threat to the alliance or its armaments.
But that hasn’t stopped the United States from announcing sanctions earlier this month to penalize Turkey, under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) which aims to repel Russian influence. . It was the first time that CAATSA had been used to penalize an American ally.
The sanctions target Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief Ismail Demir and three other senior officials. They also include a ban on most export licenses, loans and credits granted to the agency.
Cavusoglu said Turkey itself has proposed a joint sanctions task force.
“Now the proposal came from the United States. As we are naturally still in favor of dialogue, we said yes, and negotiations have started at expert level, ”Cavusoglu said at the meeting.
He also said the imposition of sanctions was a political and legal faux pas. “It is an attack on our sovereign rights,” he stressed.
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.
“In 2020, our ties with the United States have been overshadowed by existing problems,” Cavusoglu said. “In 2021, we are ready to conduct our relations with the new administration in a healthier way and we are ready to take action to overcome the existing problems.”
Earlier this month, Cavusoglu said Turkey was considering possible measures to reciprocate the sanctions.