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Pakistan expresses concern over US sanctions on Turkey

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has expressed concern over the imposition of sanctions on Turkey by the United States. 

A statement issued by the Foreign Office on Wednesday said Islamabad remained opposed, in principle, to the imposition of unilateral and coercive measures against any country. 

“The solution to all issues lies in dialogue, diplomacy and mutual understanding,” read the press release. “Pakistan acknowledges and appreciates Turkey’s invaluable role towards regional and international peace and stability.”

The FO reiterated “strong support” for the government and people of Turkey “in their quest for national security, peace and prosperity,” adding that Pakistan, as always, “will continue to stand by them towards the achievement of these shared goals”.

US sanctions NATO ally Turkey over purchase of S-400s

US sanctions on Turkey

Washington slapped the sanctions on NATO member Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief Ismail Demir, and three other employees on Monday over its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defence systems.

Washington maintained that the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO’s broader defence systems. Turkey rejected the assertion and said the S-400s will not be integrated into NATO. 

The sanctions come at a delicate moment in the fraught relations between Ankara and Washington as Democratic President-elect Joe Biden gears up to take office on January 20, 2021, replacing Republican incumbent Donald Trump.

Erdogan terms US sanctions an ‘attack’ on Turkey’s rights

Turkey’s reaction

Turkey says its purchase of the S-400s was not a choice, but rather a necessity as it was unable to procure air defence systems from any NATO ally on satisfactory terms.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan termed the move a “hostile attack” on its sovereign rights and defence industry, adding that the move was bound to fail.

Erdoğan said problems stemming from the sanctions would be overcome and vowed to ramp up efforts towards an independent defence industry. He also criticised Washington for punishing a NATO ally.

“What kind of alliance is this? What kind of partnership is this? This decision is an open hostile attack on our country’s sovereign rights,” he said in a televised address. “The real goal is to block the advances our country started in the defence industry recently and to once again render us absolutely dependent on them (United States).”

“Surely there will be problems, but each problem will push open a door for us for a solution.”

Asserting that US concerns had no technical basis, Erdoğan said Ankara still produced close to 1,000 parts for the F-35 jets, despite being removed from the programme over the S-400 purchase. Turkey had also been due to buy more than 100 F-35 jets.

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