The leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has called on the government to make the Russian S-400 missile defense systems operational in response U.S. President Joe Biden's move to recognize the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, a staunch ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said that Turkey's first move should be to make S-400s operational and collect the money it spent for the F-35 fighter jet program.
"The relations with the U.S. are at a crossroads," Bahçeli told MHP members in a weekly parliamentary group meeting on April 27.
"The first thing to do should be to make S-400s operational and collect the money we spent for the F-35 project. The government and the state have our full support in the steps that they will take regardless of the consequences," he added.
Biden's Armenian genocide recognition on April 24 came at a time when relations between Turkey and the U.S. are strained over a number of issues, with the most significant of them being Ankara's acquisition of the S-400 systems from Russia.
The U.S. imposed sanctions on Turkey over its purchase and removed it from the F-35 fighter jet program.
During his speech, Bahçeli targeted the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) for recognizing the Armenian genocide.
"The roots of the HDP are Armenian, so is their identity. The gates of Yerevan are open for these thugs who say that our nation committed a genocide," he said.