US sanctions against Turkey have "shaken all the values" of the alliance between the two countries, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has said.
"It is clear that sanctions on a NATO member country will not only damage the spirit of the alliance, but will undermine trust among allies," Akar said Tuesday.
The defence minister said the sanctions aren’t in line with military and political realities, and warned that Turkey has taken – and will continue to take – "all necessary measures" to ensure its defence against air and missile threats.
The minister urged the US to reverse its decision, and suggested that "returning to cooperation and solidarity with the United States...will provide an important contribution to regional and global peace and security."
Akar's remarks follow Monday's announcement by the US Treasury that it will introduce sanctions on Turkey's Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) and several officials, including SSB president Ismail Demir.
Turkey Remains 'Valuable Ally', Washington Says
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clarified that the sanctions were introduced in accordance with the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a 2017 law threatening embargoes against any nation that buys arms from Moscow.
According to the secretary, the sanctions "include a ban on all US export licenses and authorisations to the SSB and an asset freeze and visa restrictions on [Demir] and other SSB officers."
Pompeo also suggested that Turkey remains "a valued ally and an important regional security partner," and expressed hope that the two countries' "decades-long history of productive defence-sector cooperation" would continue once Turkey removes "the obstacle" of its S-400s.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry blasted the move, saying Ankara would "take the necessary steps against this decision, which will inevitably have a negative impact on our relations." The ministry added that the justification for the sanctions – that the S-400s pose a threat to US and NATO aircraft and defence systems – is unfounded.
Turkey's purchase of Russia's S-400 air defence system has turned into a major sticking point in relations between Ankara and its US and NATO allies. Turkey and Russia penned the S-400 contract in late 2017, with Moscow offering Ankara a generous credit agreement after Turkey's plans to buy the US-made Patriot missile systems stalled.
Turkey's move prompted the US to boot the country out of the F-35 fighter programme. Washington has also repeatedly warned Ankara against employing the S-400s, citing their alleged incompatibility with NATO systems and their apparent to alliance aircraft.
On Tuesday, the Republican People's Party, Turkey's largest opposition party, urged the government to move forward and activate the country's S-400s "as soon as possible" in light of the US sanctions.