Turkey will retaliate if US imposes sanctions over S-400s

A handout photograph taken and released on July 12, 2019, by the Turkish Defence Ministry shows a Russian military cargo plane, carrying S-400 missile defence system from Russia, during its unloading at the Murted military airbase (also known as Akincilar millitary airbase), in Ankara. (AFP)
Updated 24 July 2019

Turkey will retaliate if US imposes sanctions over S-400s

  • Turkey began receiving deliveries of the surface-to-air S-400 systems earlier this month, prompting the United States to begin removing the NATO ally from its F-35 stealth fighter program
  • Turkey, like other partners in the F-35 program, was part of the manufacturing supply chain for the high-tech jet aircraft, producing some 900 parts

ANKARA: Turkey would retaliate against what it called an unacceptable threat of US sanctions over Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defences, its foreign minister said on Monday, adding he thinks President Donald Trump wants to avoid such measures.

Turkey began receiving deliveries of the surface-to-air S-400 systems earlier this month, prompting the United States to begin removing the NATO ally from its F-35 stealth fighter program over security concerns.

“If the United States portrays an adversarial attitude towards us, we will take retaliatory measures, as we’ve told them. This is not a threat or a bluff,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with broadcaster TGRT Haber.

“We are not a country that will bow down to those who show a animosity towards Turkey,” he said, reiterating a threat of retaliation that Turkey made last month.

Cavusoglu added that he did not expect the US administration to take such action.

“Trump does not want to impose sanctions on Turkey and he frequently says that his administration and the previous US administration is also responsible for Turkey not being able to buy Patriot systems. This is true,” Cavusoglu said.

Last week, The United States announced that it was beginning the process of removing Turkey from the program for the F-35 stealth jets, the most advanced aircraft in the US arsenal, which is used by NATO and other partner countries.

Turkey, like other partners in the F-35 program, was part of the manufacturing supply chain for the high-tech jet aircraft, producing some 900 parts. A US official said it would cost some $500 million to $600 million to shift F-35 manufacturing from Turkey.

Separately, the TASS news agency cited Sergei Chemezov, head of Russia’s Rostec state conglomerate, as saying that Russia and Turkey were in talks about the possibility of jointly manufacturing some components of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system in Turkey.


Protests, explosions hit Iraq’s south as demos maintain strength

Updated 11 min 55 sec ago

Protests, explosions hit Iraq’s south as demos maintain strength

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s south saw further protests and explosions, as demonstrations against the government and its Iranian sponsor that erupted on October 1 persist unabated, according to security sources.
The southern city of Amara was rocked overnight by four near-simultaneous explosions targeting premises of two pro-Iran armed factions, according to police.
“Three sound grenades targeted two premises and the house of an Assaib Ahl Al-Haq leader and an improvised explosive device targeted the house of an Ansar Allah commander,” police said.
Asaib Ahl Al-Haq is one of the most powerful groups in Iraq’s Hashed Al-Shaabi security force, a network of armed groups integrated into the state, of which Ansar Allah is also a component.
Medical sources reported three wounded by the blasts.
Founded in 2014 to fight IS jihadists who had seized swathes of northern Iraq and neighboring Syria, the Hashed is made up of mostly Shiite factions, many of which have been backed by Iran.
According to security sources, the attacks were committed against the groups due to their loyalty to neighboring Iran, whose influence continues to grow in Iraq, in particular via armed groups that it has long trained and financed.
These attacks come shortly after the recent bloodshed in several Iraqi cities, the latest seeing 24 people killed, including four police officers, on Friday evening in central Baghdad.
Both the state and the demonstrators accuse armed men of perpetrating the violence, the former claiming that it is not possible to identify those responsible, while the latter point to pro-Iran entities.
Since October 1, Iraq’s capital and its Shiite-majority south have been gripped by rallies against corruption, poor public services, a lack of jobs and Iran’s perceived political interference.
More than 450 people have been killed and more than 20,000 wounded during the unprecedented protest movement demanding an overhaul of the political system.
In the holy Shiite city of Karbala, protesters rallied at the police station to demand information within 24 hours on the death of Fahem Al-Tai, a 53-year-old prominent civil society activist gunned down in a drive-by shooting on Sunday evening while returning home from protests.
Others blocked access to the courthouse to demand proceedings be launched against local leaders for corruption — a key priority of the protest movement in a country ranked the 12th most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International.
In Diwaniya, also in the south, protesters blocked the road to the Shanafiya oil refinery, according to police, demanding employment.
Despite Iraq being OPEC’s second-largest crude producer, one in five of its people live in poverty and youth unemployment stands at one quarter of the population, the World Bank says.
Protesters from several cities in the south on Tuesday joined thousands of demonstrators gathered for more than two months in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, which is the epicenter of the demonstrations in the capital.
“We came to support our brothers in Baghdad,” said an activist in the movement from Nassiriya, Haydar Kazem.