Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday Ankara is set to retaliate against the sanctions that Washington intends to impose on Turkey over its purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system.
“If the United States slaps sanctions, we will respond in kind. A [relevant] step can also be taken with regard to the Incirlik airbase. This is a natural position under these circumstances, not a threat and blackmail,” Cavusoglu told Turkish news TV channel TGRT Haber.
The move comes after US State Department said last week that President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “are examining all of the options in the CAATSA [Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act] legislation over Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems.”
Last year, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag rejected media reports about US plans to withdraw its troops from the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey. This came after German troops left the base after German lawmakers were not allowed to visit the facility.
Washington has repeatedly threatened to remove Turkey from the F-35 program, warning that the US would no longer train Turkish pilots to operate the fifth-generation jet.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly stressed that the S-400 agreement, signed by Moscow and Ankara in December 2017, is a “done deal.”