Turkey is capable of overcoming the consequences of an arms embargo, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
“In 2002, we fulfilled 62 defence projects. Today, this figure has reached 700. We have increased the budget of our defense projects from $5.5 to $60 billion.
Seven Turkish companies are on the list of the world’s biggest defence companies. Turkey is capable of overcoming all the difficulties created by foreign suppliers: their hidden and open embargoes” Erdogan said on late Thursday.
Erdogan said that Turkey had managed to launch the production of cameras for drones after Canada had imposed an arms embargo on Ankara over its involvement in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Last month, the US warned Turkey that there would be serious consequences for the relationship between the US and Turkey if Ankara continued to proceed with its testing activities involving Russian-designed air defence systems.
In 2019, Washington booted Ankara out of the F-35 programme after Turkey decided to purchase the S-400 air defence system, inking a $2.5 billion contract with Russia in 2017, which contributed to a sharp decline in US-Turkish relations.
The US also warned that Turkey’s S-400 deliveries would be “devastating, not only to the F-35 programme.
It could potentially rupture Turkish interoperability with NATO,” because the S-400 is specifically “designed to shoot down an aircraft such as the F-35.”
Washington has been opposing the agreement and demanded that Turkey ditch the S-400s and purchase US Patriot systems instead. However, Ankara and Moscow both continued negotiations on an additional batch of S-400. The country has since received 36 S-400 fire units and more than 192 missiles and has recently expressed an interest in buying more.