Turkish parliament calls on Washington to revoke sanctions over S-400s

(Updated with reactions from HDP, AKP deputy chair)

Four Turkish political parties on Tuesday signed a declaration condemning U.S. sanctions imposed on Turkey over its purchase of the Russian  S-400 missile systems, demanding Washington revoke it decision.

The decision to sanction Ankara over the systems defies “the spirit of NATO alliance,” T24 news site cited the declaration as saying, while noting the move was a “grave mistake.”

The declaration was signed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its coalition partner, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the main opposition secularist Republican People's Party (CHP) and centre-right nationalist İYİ Party (İYİP). 

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) did not sign the declaration. Later on Tuesday, the HDP issued a statement, saying it aw the debates surrounding the S-400s and CAATSA as a militarist game comprising the Turkish government’s “wrong policies.’’

The way to stand against the sanctions is not by backing the policies of the government, which have taken Turkey to the edge of a cliff, the HDP said, but to stand against such policies and point the people of Turkey to a different way out of the crisis.

“This incorrect step taken by the United States does not suit the spirit of alliance,’’ the declaration said. “It is also clear that it will not serve any benefit to our relations, which call for being carried forward within the framework of respect.”

The declaration arrives a day after U.S. President Donald Trump's administration imposed sanctions NATO ally Turkey over its purchase of a Russian air defence system in a move that could lead to  further confrontation between Ankara and Washington ahead of President-elect Joe Biden taking office next month.

The Financial Times on Tuesday cited a person familiar with the decision as saying the measures were crafted to avoid hurting extensive ties between the U.S. and Turkish military.

The sanctions target the Turkish Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), prohibiting export licenses for any goods and services transferred to the organisation.

The move may still strike a blow to the second-largest military in NATO, the Financial Times said, and the burgeoning Turkish defence industry given the SSB’s role as a key node for Turkish defence procurement and production.

Spokesman for Turkey’s ruling AKP Ömer Çelik in a separate statement on Tuesday said Ankara rejected the sanctions and  “Turkey would continue on its path,’’ Sabah newspaper reported.

AKP Deputy Chairperson Numan Kurtulmuş on Tuesday also dismissed the sanctions, saying Turkey was in need of the S-400s as s country struggling against terror.

“Our stance on the S-400s is clear. We did not purchase the S-400s for a great deal of money in vain,’’ Kurtulmuş told NTV network. “Turkey is a country that is faced with terror organisations in its close proximity. It is necessary for Turkey to have (such) power in the face of an air attack on the country.’’

The S-400 is one of a string of issues contributing to soaring tensions between the countries for more than a year over, along with Turkish actions in war-torn Syria, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh and in the eastern Mediterranean.