Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there is discord in Ankara’s relations with Washington and that the United States needs to resolve issues over his nation’s purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems.
By Erin Viner
This, according to the conservative Turkish Habertürk (HT) broadcaster.
Ties between the NATO allies sunk earlier this year when the US sanctioned Turkey over its acquisition of Moscow‘s S-400s by imposing sanctions on the country’s defense industry; while also expelling it from participating in the American military’s F-35 jet program, in which it was a buyer and manufacturer.
“I cannot say that a healthy process is running in Turkish-American ties… We bought F-35s, we paid $1.4 billion and these F-35s were not given to us,” complained Erdoğan to reporters after attending the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York yesterday, as cited by HT.
“The United States needs to first sort this out,” added the Turkish leader, while warning that Ankara would fulfill its defense needs elsewhere if Washington failed to resolve the dispute.
Erdoğan had working to secure US cooperation to operate the Kabul airport after NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan but was forced to revise his plan in the wake of the rapid takeover of the country by the Taliban.
The Turkish President condemned the US withdrawal, going so far as to say that Washington must “pay the price” for its departure from Afghanistan.
While expressing outward support for the two nations to engage in improved bilateral cooperation, Erdoğan stressed that “the current direction does not bode well” and that his relationship with US President Joe Biden had not “started off right.”
Other major points of contention between the sides include US support of Israel and Syrian Kurds, the White House recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire, the forerunner of modern Turkey; as well as US disapproval of Turkey’s human rights record, its standoff with Greece and Cyprus over territory in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and intervention in wars in Syria and Libya.