Turkey says turning back on S-400s ‘problematic’, seeks US dialogue

Turkey says turning back on S-400s ‘problematic’, seeks US dialogue
Turkish National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar gives a press conference at the ministry in Ankara on Jan. 13, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 14 January 2021

Turkey says turning back on S-400s ‘problematic’, seeks US dialogue

Turkey says turning back on S-400s ‘problematic’, seeks US dialogue
  • Akar also reiterated that Turkey was in talks with Russia on obtaining a second consignment of the S400 defense systems
  • Biden has been critical of President Tayyip Erdogan’s policies in the past

ANKARA: Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said it would be “very problematic” for Ankara to turn back on its purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems but expressed hope that a dispute with the United States on the issue could be resolved through dialogue.
Akar also reiterated that Turkey was in talks with Russia on obtaining a second consignment of the S400 defense systems.
Washington slapped sanctions on NATO ally Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief Ismail Demir and three other employees last month following its acquisition of the S-400s.
“It is a very problematic situation to turn back from the point we have come to. We invite (the United States) to distance themselves from threatening language such as sanctions,” Akar told journalists in Ankara.
“We want the solution of problems through dialogue. If the US side wants a solution, a solution could be found with work on the technical level,” he said.
The sanctions were imposed at a challenging time in the fraught relationship between Ankara and Washington. President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office on Jan. 20, replacing Donald Trump. Biden has been critical of President Tayyip Erdogan’s policies in the past.
Turkey has defended its acquisition of the S-400s as a necessity because it was unable to procure air defense systems from any NATO ally on satisfactory terms.
Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO’s broader defense systems. Turkey rejects this and says S-400s will not be integrated into NATO.


UAE records highest number of COVID-19 cases since pandemic began

UAE records highest number of COVID-19 cases since pandemic began
Updated 4 min 34 sec ago

UAE records highest number of COVID-19 cases since pandemic began

UAE records highest number of COVID-19 cases since pandemic began
  • UAE says 2,990 have recovered over the past 24 hours
  • Kuwait records 467 cases and 1 death, Oman reports 221 cases and 2 deaths

DUBAI: The UAE on Monday recorded 3,471 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily count since the start of the pandemic, and six deaths.
Officials from the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) said the total number of cases since the pandemic began had reached 256,732, while the death toll rose to 751.
Some 2,990 people had recovered from the virus in the past 24 hours. The total number of recoveries is 228,364.
The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources issued a circular to all ministries and federal entities amending the procedures for dealing with the pandemic to be implemented from Sunday. All government employees, as well as outsourced or public service companies, are required to take a PCR test every seven days, if they have not received two doses of the vaccine.
As part of its national campaign to inoculate 50 percent of the population by April, the UAE said it has vaccinated 1.972 million people, with almost 90,000 in the last 24 hours.
Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said it is organizing a series of virtual seminars aimed at raising awareness on the importance of taking the COVID-19 vaccine, especially for the priority groups.

Dr. Hind Al-Awadi, head of DHA’s Health Promotion and Education Department, said the campaign targets employees of government departments and institutions in Dubai to explain the importance of the vaccine, the procedure, its symptoms and its role in strengthening the body’s immunity, especially for those suffering from chronic diseases.
Dubai Municipality announced it had intensified its inspection campaigns and said it closed down 18 businesses and issued 18 fines and 45 warnings to others for failing to adhere to anti-COVID-19 measures.
The Department of Social Services in Sharjah said it received more than 300 requests to provide home vaccinations for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and their families since the initiative began on Saturday.
“Starting from the beginning of this week, 12 mobile units started visiting the homes of senior citizens and providing vaccinations for COVID-19, the department’s director Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Mayel, said.

He added that they are working “to increase the number of mobile units in the coming weeks to ensure that the largest number of people are vaccinated.”
Ajman Medical District launched a new center to administer the vaccine, with a large turnout on the first day of opening.
Hamad Tarim Al-Shamsi, the district’s director, said: “Our health plans are based on making medical services accessible to all members of society and we are currently focusing on providing services, examinations and vaccines to the most needy groups, especially senior citizens and people with disabilities, and medical teams have been formed to communicate with them in their homes.”
Elsewhere, Kuwait reported 467 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number to 158,244. The death toll rose to 948 after one coronavirus-related death was reported in the previous 24 hours.

Oman’s health ministry confirmed 221 new cases and two deaths, bringing the totals to 132,011 and 1,514, respectively.

In Bahrain, no deaths were reported, keeping the death toll to 360, while 333 new infected cases were confirmed.