ISTANBUL (Dispatches) – Turkey said on Tuesday a U.S. House of Representatives’ resolution condemning Ankara’s purchase of Russian systems and urging potential sanctions was unacceptably threatening.
Relations between the two NATO members have been strained on several fronts including Ankara’s plans to buy Russia’s S-400 air systems, the detention of U.S. consular staff in Turkey, and conflicting strategy over Syria and Iran.
The standoff threatens to bring U.S. sanctions, which would hurt Turkey’s already recession-hit economy, and raise questions over its role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The resolution, introduced in May and entitled "Expressing concern for the United States-Turkey alliance”, was agreed in the House on Monday.
It urges Turkey to cancel the S-400 purchase and calls for sanctions if it accepts their delivery, which may come as soon as July. That, the resolution said, would undermine the U.S.-led transatlantic alliance.
In response, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that its foreign policy and judicial system were being maligned by "unfair” and "unfounded” allegations in the resolution.
"It is unacceptable to take decisions which do not serve to increase mutual trust, to continue to keep the language of threats and sanctions on the agenda and to set various artificial deadlines,” it added.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s government faces a balancing act in its ties with the West and Russia, with which it has close energy ties and is also cooperating in neighboring Syria.
U.S. officials said on Monday the training of Turkish pilots on F-35 fighter jets had come to a faster-than-expected halt at an air base in Arizona, as Ankara’s involvement was wound down over the S-400 controversy.