By Umar Farooq
WASHINGTON (AA) - Turkey's relationship with the U.S. needs to be based on trust, common values, and shared interests, Turkish presidential spokesman said Monday.
Ibrahim Kalin said Washington’s threats would only damage the relationship at a conference hosted by the American-Turkish Council.
He addressed some positives between the two countries, such as U.S. President Donald Trump's call to increase the trade volume to $75 billion, but he also discussed an issue that has caused tension – the Turkish procurement of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. Ankara bought it in 2017 after years of trying to negotiate a deal for the U.S. Patriot missile system.
Washington warned Turkey not to go through with the Russian purchase, citing the system might covertly obtain critical information on the F-35 fighter jets, including their detection range, which could then be relayed to Russia.
Turkey is a joint-partner of the program which manufactures the planes.
The U.S. stopped shipment of "deliveries and activities" related to Turkey's procurement of the stealth fighter jet earlier this month.
Excluding Turkey from the F-35 program will not punish Ankara but the entire program, said Kalin.
"We really have to address the issue of trust," he said.
Kalin said the kind of language involving terms like sanctions will ultimately put a "dent in that relationship."
"Rather than using language of threats from sanctions against Turkey, I think the people here in Congress as well as this administration should understand Turkey's security concerns," Kalin said.
"I don’t think the United States can afford to lose Turkey," Kalin said.