Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Thursday that he intends to use his “good” relations with his US counterpart Donald Trump to resolve the crisis between Turkey and the United States over Ankara’s purchase of Russian missiles.
Erdogan and Trump are scheduled to meet in late June in Japan on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in the month that Washington’s deadline for Ankara to give up its Russian anti-aircraft S400 system is over.
During a rare meeting with the foreign press in Istanbul, Erdogan stressed his good relations with Trump, a distinction between the US president and other officials in his administration.
He said that this proximity to Trump may allow the settlement of the file that strained relations between the two members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
“Our relations with Trump are at a level that I describe as good.
When there is a problem, we discuss it, we resort to telephone diplomacy”.
“When I meet him in Japan, I will tell him: Do you think that imposing sanctions on Turkey is appropriate?
I’m sure he does not think so”.
Two weeks ago, Pakistan’s acting defense minister, Patrick Shanahan, sent a letter to Ankara and gave it until July 31 to stop buying S400 missiles.
Washington considers the system capable of breaking the secrets of the new US F35, which Turkey also wants to acquire.
If Turkey doesn’t back down on the purchase of the missiles by the end of July, Turkish pilots currently trained in the United States will be expelled from the F35, according to Washington.
The contracts awarded to Turkish companies to manufacture F35 parts will be canceled and Turkish employees will be replaced by the international manufacturer of the fighters, it added.
Despite these threats, Erdogan repeated on Thursday that Russian missiles would be delivered to his country “in the first half of July”.
“The sites where the missiles were deployed have already been chosen.
He pointed out that Turkey paid $ 1.25 billion for 100 F35 aircraft, and will seek compensation in court if these planes aren’t delivered.
“Turkey is not a country for the United States.
We’re associated with a strategic partnership that goes back many years.
They have to think well because losing Turkey is not easy”.