Turkey unafraid of US sanctions over S-400 deal: Foreign minister

A Russian serviceman walks past S-400 missile air defence systems before a parade marking the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in central Moscow, Russia April 29, 2019. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 24 June 2019

Turkey unafraid of US sanctions over S-400 deal: Foreign minister

  • US has given Turkey a deadline of July 31 to drop the purchase
  • Relations between Washington and Ankara have deteriorated over multiple issues

ANKARA: Turkey said Monday it does not fear US sanctions over its decision to buy a Russian missile defense system that has frayed ties between the NATO allies.
The US has given Turkey a deadline of July 31 to drop the purchase of the S-400 system, or face sanctions and removal from its F-35 fighter jet program.
“Regardless of whatever sanctions there may be, whatever the messages from America, we’ve bought the S-400,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara.
He said Turkey was working on the date for the system’s delivery, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said would be in the first half of July.
“If there’s an attack on Turkey tomorrow, we cannot expect NATO to protect us because NATO’s capacity would only protect 30 percent of Turkey’s airspace,” Cavusoglu said.
Turkey will no longer allow other countries to dictate its defense purchases, he said.
Relations between Washington and Ankara have deteriorated over multiple issues, including the S-400 deal and US support for a Syrian Kurdish militia viewed as terrorists by Turkey.
Sanctions could cause damage at a time when Turkey’s economy is already struggling.
Its currency lost a third of its value last year, in part due to temporary US sanctions over the detention of an American pastor.
Turkey has plans to buy 100 F-35s, and has lucrative contracts to build parts of the jet.
Erdogan said last week he would use his “good” relationship with US counterpart Donald Trump to defuse the crisis when they meet at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan this week.


Health fears over French academic held in Iran

Updated 23 min 32 sec ago

Health fears over French academic held in Iran

  • Adelkhah would be willing to end her hunger strike if Marchal was freed
  • Iran does not recognize dual nationality and has lashed out at Paris for what it has described as ‘interference’

PARIS: French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah has requested access to her French colleague Roland Marchal in detention in Iran, saying she has “serious concerns” about his health, a committee supporting the pair said Thursday.
The two researchers have been held in the Islamic Republic since June, two of a number of foreigners arrested in Iran during a spike in tensions between Tehran and the West.
Adelkhah would be willing to end her hunger strike, which she started on Dec. 24, if Marchal was freed, the support committee said in a press release sent to AFP.
“She has the most serious concerns about his health — an alarm that we share,” because the Revolutionary Guards have refused a consular visit to Marchal since December, the committee said.
French nationals held abroad can usually receive consular visits, during which detention conditions — and their health — can be checked.
But Iran does not recognize dual nationality and has lashed out at Paris for what it has described as “interference” in the cases of the academics, both from Sciences Po university in Paris.
Adelkhah has refused to return to her cell and held a sit-in in a public area of the prison over the last week, demanding to see Marchal “to comfort him and check the state of his health,” the committee said.
Iran has dropped espionage charges against Adelkhah but she still faces charges of spreading “propaganda against the political system” and “conspiracy against national security.”
Marchal is accused of “collusion against national security,” according to his lawyer.
The two researchers are not the only foreign academics behind bars in Iran — Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert of the University of Melbourne is serving a 10-year sentence on espionage charges. Moore-Gilbert is sharing a cell with Adelkhah and joined her on the hunger strike.
Arrests of foreigners including dual nationals in Iran have increased since the United States pulled out a landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions.
France and other European nations have tried to salvage the deal, but tensions soared further after the US killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani earlier this month.
France has regularly called on Iran to release Adelkhah and Marchal, with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian saying earlier this month that their detention was “unacceptable.”