The Turkish Foreign Minister commented on the bill on sanctions approved by the Senate Committee on foreign relations.
Ankara has threatened Washington with retaliatory action in the event of the imposition of sanctions against Turkey. The announcement came as US senators prepare to vote on measures to be taken to punish Ankara for buying Russian missile defense systems.
“American lawmakers should understand that the introduction of [sanctions] will lead to nothing. If the United States approaches us positively, we will also respond positively. However, if they adopt the negative, we will strike back,” foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned in an interview with a Turkish TV channel on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the US Senate foreign relations committee approved a bill providing for sanctions against Turkey for the purchase of Russian S-400 SAMS and the military invasion of Northern Syria. Both Democrats and Republicans support sanctions against Ankara.
US lawmakers may be further angered by Wednesday’s decision by a court in Turkey to continue the detention of Metin Topuz, an employee of the US Consulate in Turkey. Topuz is accused of espionage. In Washington, these accusations are called baseless.
Relations between the two allies in the NATO bloc could worsen even more if the threat that Cavusoglu said comes to life – according to the Minister, in the case of sanctions, the further work of American military bases in the country will be threatened.
“Both [air force base] Incirlik and [radar base] Kurejik could be on our agenda. We don’t want to talk about a bad scenario [of events],” Cavusoglu said.
Incirlik air force base, located near the border with Syria, for decades played a key role for US regional interests. The base is also believed to house American nuclear weapons.
In the past, Ankara has threatened to close or suspend US involvement in Incirlik. A source in Western diplomatic circles said that the Turkish authorities in recent years have begun to monitor closely the activities of the Americans at this base. Ankara considers Incirlik as a trump card in relations with Washington, however, according to experts, everything can change.
Another base that Cavusoglu mentioned today is the Kurejik radar base, located near the Iranian border, which is of great importance for monitoring military activity in Iran – especially in the field of missile technology. Analysts believe that Tehran will welcome a closure of Kurejik.