By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey will "pay the price if it gives up the S-400 missile system deal with Russia," the head of the opposition Grand Unity Party (BBP) said Wednesday.
"No matter what happens, whatever the U.S. threatens us with, whichever embargoes it imposes, the [S-400] project should not be given up," said Mustafa Destici, speaking to reporters at the Turkish parliament.
"We will pay the price if we give up this project," stressed Destici.
Destici noted that the S-400 deal with Russia was "a centenarian project of Turkey."
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have escalated in recent months over the S-400 purchase, which Washington said will jeopardize Turkey's role in the F-35 fighter jet program and could trigger sanctions.
Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the U.S. with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400s.
U.S. officials urged Turkey to buy U.S. Patriot missiles, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge.
Turkey, however, emphasized the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Despite Turkey urged a formation of a commission to clarify any technical issues, the U.S. yet to respond to such proposal.