Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister on Sunday warned the United States against blocking planned weapons sales to his country, insisting that Ankara would respond to such an action with reprisals.
Cavusoglu’s comments is in reaction to the release of the annual defense policy bill Friday by the US House of Representatives. The $717 billion (€598.62 billion) bill includes a provision that foresees temporarily cutting off weapons sales to Turkey.
Cavusoglu dismissed the idea as illogical and inappropriate for NATO allies.
“If the United States imposes sanctions on us or takes such a step, Turkey will absolutely retaliate,” Cavusoglu said. “What needs to be done is the US needs to let go of this,” he added.
The proposed US National Defense Authorization Act is still a few steps away from becoming law, but it calls on the Defense Department to file a report to Congress on bilateral relations between the two countries — and would halt large-scale military sales to Turkey until the report is submitted.
Turkey plans to buy more than 100 F-35 Joint Strike fighter jets that are manufactured by Lockheed Martin. In addition, the countries are also negotiating Ankara’s possible purchase of US Patriot missiles.
But in December, Turkey also agreed to buy S-400 surface-to-air missiles from Russia, which Ankara sees as necessary to combat potential threats from Kurdish and Islamist militants both at home and abroad, particularly in neighboring Syria and Iraq.