'US sanctions on Turkey against spirit of alliance'
Imposing restrictions, especially over S-400 issue, not in line with spirit of alliance, says defense minister
Imposing sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system does not comply with the spirit of alliance, Turkey's defense minister said on Friday.
"Imposing some restrictions on Turkey, especially on F-35 over the S-400 issue is not in line with the spirit of alliance," Hulusi Akar said addressing an event in the central Kayseri province.
"The S-400 defense system is used against threats and dangers when it is needed. The S-400 does not harm anyone if there is no intention to attack Turkey," Akar added.
Last December, the US imposed sanctions on Turkey over the acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
US officials have voiced opposition to the deal, claiming the S-400s would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose F-35 jets to possible Russian subterfuge.
Turkey, however, stressed that the S-400s would not be integrated into NATO systems, and pose no threat to the alliance or its armaments.
Turkish officials have repeatedly proposed a working group to examine the technical compatibility issue.
Meanwhile, speaking on Greek jets' harassment of a Turkish scientific research vessel in the Aegean Sea, he reiterated this is not what good neighbors do.
On Tuesday, one of the four Greek fighter jets that approached the TCG Cesme west of Lemnos Island launched a chaff cartridge from a distance of two nautical miles (2.3 miles), according to security sources.
The Turkish ship, which was engaged in hydrographic surveying activities at the time, is slated to continue its scientific and technical research in the region until March 2.
Besides, touching upon Turkey's fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), Akar said: "We continue our fight against FETO determinedly. As of July 15, 2016, some 21,194 people have been dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and 2,734 injured.