President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday Turkey expects its NATO ally the United States to support it and not sanction it over its purchase of Russian S-400 missiles, and added he was upset that Washington went ahead with the sanctions process.
Neither sanctions from the United States nor the European Union would deter Turkey from defending its rights, Erdogan added in an address after a cabinet meeting.
Reuters, citing sources, reported last week that the United States was poised to sanction Turkey over the S-400s. The U.S. Congress has also passed a defense spending bill including a provision for such sanctions.
Turkey says it won’t abandon East Med rights over EU sanctions threat
Turkey will not abandon its rights and interests in the eastern Mediterranean because of possible European Union sanctions or criticism, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.
At a summit on Friday, EU leaders agreed to prepare limited sanctions on Turkish individuals over a row with Greece and Cyprus about offshore energy exploration, but postponed discussions on any harsher steps until March.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the summit that EU leaders planned to discuss weapons exports to Turkey with allies in the NATO military alliance following a Greek push for an arms embargo on Ankara.
Answering questions in parliament as part of annual budget talks, Cavusoglu said: “It is out of the question for us to abandon our rights and interests in the eastern Mediterranean because we will face sanctions or the EU will criticize us.”
Earlier on Monday, President Tayyip Erdogan said he was upset by the United States and EU moving forward with sanctions processes against Turkey, saying Turkey expected the EU “not to sanction it but rather to realize its promise of full (EU) membership.”