Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said that he doesn't find it appropriate to "draw swords" against the administration of President-elect Joe Biden already.
Akar was commenting on the rift between the U.S. and Turkey due to the latter's purchase of Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems.
"It's not appropriate to draw swords against the Biden administration already. It's beneficial to see the process first and determine a path accordingly," Akar told the daily Hürriyet on Jan. 4.
"The S-400s are not a preference for us, but a necessity. The safety of our 83 million citizens is in question," he added.
On Dec. 14, Washington imposed sanctions, coming under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), targeting NATO member Turkey's Defense Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief İsmail Demir and three other employees over its acquisition of the S-400s.
Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO's broader defense systems. Turkey rejects this and says S-400s will not be integrated into NATO.
Akar said that it's not right to focus on the S-400s among hundreds of other issues, as he went onto criticize the U.S. over its refusal to extradite Fethullah Gülen, the believed mastermind of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.
"We have years of relations with the U.S. It's not right to pick the S-400s among hundreds of other issues. We asked you to extradite FETÖ and you didn't," Akar said, using the official name of the Gülen movement - the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization.
The minister also said that Ankara expects the U.S. to stop its support to the Kurdish militants in Syria.
Washington's support for the People's Protection Units (YPG) has been among the issues that create tensions between the two countries since Ankara perceives the YPG as a terror group due to it being the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.
"The PKK is the same as the YPG. This must be understood. We expect the U.S. to end its ammunition support to them," Akar said.