Sanctioned Turkish official thinks US relations won’t change

ISTANBUL (AP) — A Turkish defence official sanctioned by the United States (US) said on Tuesday that bilateral relations will not be affected despite the Trump administration’s decision to finally punish Turkey for its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system as senior officials continued to condemn the move.

Head of Turkey’s military procurement agency Ismail Demir emphasised that Turkey and the US are NATO allies who will continue working together. He also argued that the sanctions could serve as a “warning” for Turkey’s local defence industries to continue and speed up their work.

“This is an occasion that should be assessed on its own terms and I think, we expect this to not affect relations much,” Demir told journalists.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke with his US counterpart Mike Pompeo on Tuesday and relayed Turkey’s “reactions” on the sanctions.

Monday’s sanctions are part of a US law known as CAATSA, which are aimed at pushing back on Russian influence. They target Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries, Demir and three other senior officials. The penalties block any assets the four officials may have in US jurisdictions and bar their entry into the US. They also include a ban on most export licences, loans and credits to the agency.

The move is the first time that CAATSA has been used to penalise a US ally.

Turkey’s defence minister condemned the sanctions, saying the decision “has shaken all the values of our alliance”.

File photo shows a truck carrying parts of the S-400 air defence systems, exits a Russian transport aircraft after landing at Murted military airport outside Ankara, Turkey. PHOTO: AP