(This story has been updated with Hulusi Akar remarks in the last two paragraphs.)
Ankara has no concern or worry over U.S. President Joe Biden not having spoken with his Turkish counterpart, Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said in a televised interview on Thursday.
“I’m having trouble understanding (the discussions on the matter),” Kalın told television channel Haber Global. “My words may be a little harsh, but (the discussion) reminds me of the inferiority complex present in previous administrations.”
Turkey’s relations with the United States has always ebbed and flowed, Kalın said.
Under Barack Obama, Washington started to support Syrian Kurdish groups that Turkey designates as terrorist, while Donald Trump, “imposed CAATSA sanctions due to the S-400s on his way out,” Kalın said, adding that Turkey’s relations with the United States were “not a zero-sum game”.
Kalın denied comments by Bloomberg that Turkey had been signaling a possible shift in its attitude regarding the Russian-made S-400 missile defence systems, which have been the focus of tensions between Washington, NATO and Ankara since Turkey’s purchase in 2019. “We’ve always expressed our position. There will be no turning back, this is our decision as a sovereign country making a deal with another sovereign country,” he said.
Before he left office, in mid-December, Trump approved sanctions on Turkey based on the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which received strong support in both the House and the Senate from both sides of the aisle.
Washington maintains that the S-400s are incompatible with NATO weapons systems and pose a security risk.
Kalın said Ankara called on its allies to have technical analyses made to see whether the S-400 would in fact pose a security risk, but NATO allies have been “avoiding that discussion too”. The spokesman called the CAATSA sanctions “wrong on principle, unjust, and non-functional” as well as “meaningless”.
The European Union is important for Turkey, Kalın said. “Our relationship is not severed. And it probably won’t be. Our bilateral relations will continue, whether we are a member of the EU or not.”
The EU experienced a restriction of its global perspective in recent years, Kalın said. “There is Europe that turns to Washington for all the most critical issues, and makes decisions and takes steps after receiving a signal from there,” he said, “which makes Europe an actor that has no effect on global events.”
Meanwhile, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar praised Egypt for the second time this week for Cairo’s respect for Turkey’s continental shelf limits in a tender on hydrocarbon exploration in eastern Mediterranean. “This approach and recent developments are in the interest of both countries and other countries in the region. It’s also worthy of our cultural and historic ties,” daily Sözcü cited Akar as saying.
Akar also repeated Turkey’s discomfort with regards to the established ties of support between the U.S. Government and the Syrian Kurdish Forces. Akar said Turkey condemned such support “under the guise of fighting against the Islamic State”.