Turkey vows to retaliate if U.S. halts weapons sales

Updated 2018-05-07 11:16:02 Xinhua

Turkey will retaliate if the U.S. ratifies a bill halting weapons sales to the country, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sunday.

"If the U.S. takes a step toward an embargo or visa ban on us, Turkey will definitely respond to that," Cavusoglu said during a interview with local broadcaster CNNTurk, referring to the potential cancellation of F-35 aircraft sales to Turkey.

His remarks came two days after the U.S. House of Representatives released the details of a 717-billion-U.S.-dollar annual defense bill, including the move to suspend weapons sales to Turkey.

The proposal would ask the U.S. Defense Department to halt the sale of major defense equipment to Turkey until the department provides the Congress with a report on the relationship between the two countries.

"Their approach of threatening or sanctions are not correct when we are sensitive on the S-400 air defense system deal. If the U.S. takes such steps while we are trying to mend ties, they will certainly get a response from Turkey," Cavusoglu stressed.

Turkey is scheduled to purchase more than 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, while negotiating with the U.S. over the deal of Patriot missiles.

Last December, Turkey and Russia signed an agreement on the purchase of two S-400 surface-to-air missile systems by late 2019, prompting a warning from the NATO about unspecified consequences.

Cavusoglu dismissed the warning, saying he is likely to meet his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo next week.

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