Ankara condemns US spending bill’s anti-Turkey measures

Turkey condemned on Friday the use of “negative language targeting Turkey” in a budget bill passed in the U.S. Congress.

“This is the latest outcome of the agenda pursued by Members of Congress who are bent on damaging our bilateral relations by any means,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in an online statement.

“Turkey condemns the exploitation of even an ordinary budgeting process for the sake of the short term political ambitions of U.S. politicians,” Aksoy said.

Aksoy stressed that U.S. Members of Congress were “damaging their own reputations and credibility” by allowing themselves to be used by their anti-Turkish colleagues to “hollow out the notion of alliance between Ankara and Washington.

“Those circles who try to unfairly block the delivery of F-35 aircrafts to Turkey, while attempting to hamper efforts for a solution on the Island of Cyprus and cooperation opportunities in the Eastern Mediterranean, will realize in due time that their initiatives are actually harming the U.S.’s own interests and not serving regional peace and stability,” Aksoy added.

The U.S House of Representatives and Senate on Tuesday passed a massive $738 billion defense spending bill that includes a handful of anti-Turkey measures including a prohibition on transferring F-35 fighter jets or its parts to Turkey, over Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, and calls for President Donald Trump to implement sanctions on Turkey.

This July, Turkey’s acquisition of Russian S-400 defense systems prompted the Trump administration to suspend Turkey from the F-35 program. The U.S. claims the system would be a security risk and is incompatible with NATO systems.

Turkey, however, counters that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

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