Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has challenged the United States on a sanctions threat over Ankara’s support to Baku in its clashes with Armenia.
"Some Americans call my brother [Azerbaijani President] Ilham Aliyev and tell him that 'We know who supports you. It is Erdoğan and Turkey, but we can impose sanctions on Turkey if needed.’ You [Americans] do not know who you are playing with. Go ahead with your sanctions," Erdoğan said.
He said at a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the eastern province of Malatya that Turkey will continue to lend all support to Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been involved in fierce clashes since Sept. 27 despite international calls for calm.
In his speech, Erdoğan also accused Turkey’s NATO ally, the U.S., of not delivering F-35 fighter jets due to Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.Erdoğan says Turkey tested Russian S-400s, shrugs off US objections
"We took many steps to buy the F-35s but you [the U.S.] threatened us and told us to send back S-400 systems to Russia first. We are not a tribe, we are Turkey," Erdoğan said.
On Oct. 23, the U.S. Department of Defense said it is "aware" of reports that Turkey recently tested an advanced Russian air defense system, saying if the reports are true it "strongly condemns the test."
"We have been clear: An operational S-400 system is not consistent with Turkey's commitments as a U.S. and NATO ally," spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement, calling the system "a barrier to progress elsewhere in bilateral relations."
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Oct. 24 that the preparation process of Russia's S-400 missile defense systems continued as planned.
Akar said the S-400 systems would not be integrated into any NATO systems and thus would not pose any risk to the alliance.
Erdoğan to Wilders: Know your place
Separately, Erdoğan also responded to Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who called him a “terrorist” in a Twitter post.
“There is a so-called lawmaker in the Netherlands,” he said, referring to Welders, the head of the Party for Freedom (VVP).
“First, you should know your place,” he said.
"Fascism is not in our book, it's in your book. Social justice is in our book.”Erdoğan aide: Europe is a dangerous place for Muslims