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Pakistan concerned over sanctions imposed by US on Turkey

An AFP file photo of PM Imran Khan shaking hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

ISLAMABAD:  Pakistan on Wednesday expressed strong concerns over the sanctions imposed by United States on Turkey.

The Foreign Office said in a statement it opposed imposition of unilateral, coercive measure against any country in principle. 

“The solution to all issues lies in dialogue, diplomacy and mutual understanding,” said the FO. “Pakistan acknowledges and appreciates Turkey’s invaluable role towards regional and international peace and stability.”

Reiterating “strong support” for the government and people of Turkey “in their quest for national security, peace and prosperity”, the FO said Pakistan, as always, “will continue to stand by them towards the achievement of these shared goals”.

US sanctions on Turkey

The US slapped sanctions on NATO member Turkey’s  Defence Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief Ismail Demir, and three other employees on Monday over its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defence systems.

Washington maintained that the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO’s broader defence systems. Turkey rejected the assertion and said the S-400s will not be integrated into NATO.

The sanctions come amid strained ties between Ankara and Washington as US President-elect Joe Biden gears up to take  office in January next year. 

Turkey’s reaction

Ankara maintains its purchase of the S-400s was a necessity not a choice as it was unable to procure air defence systems from any NATO ally on satisfactory terms.

Terming the US move a “hostile attack” on Turkey’s sovereign rights and defence industry,   Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the move was bound to fail.

In a televised address, Erdogan said issues stemming from the sanctions would be overcome and vowed to ramp up efforts towards an independent defence industry. 

 Calling out Washington for punishing a NATO ally, the Turkish president: “What kind of alliance is this? What kind of partnership is this? “

“The real goal is to block the advances our country started in the defence industry recently and to once again render us absolutely dependent on them (United States),” he added.  “Surely there will be problems, but each problem will push open a door for us for a solution.”

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