Turkey-U.S. Business Council (TAIK) expressed concern over the U.S. decision to impose sanctions on Ankara over the latter’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the business body said it believes that enhancing trade ties between the two countries would bring the two nations closer together.
“We have been enthusiastically supportive of the U.S. government’s commitment to increasing annual trade to $100 billion (TL 781.3 billion) because we know there are ample opportunities to create jobs and boost economic activity in both countries by doing so,” TAIK said in the statement.
Referring to the decision by the U.S. State Department as “disappointing,” the business body warned that sanctions push bilateral relations in the “wrong direction” and puts thousands of American jobs at risk.
“Even amid deep differences, rather than inflaming tensions, the United States would be better served by finding ways to more closely cooperate with a decadeslong ally.”
Ties between NATO allies Turkey and the U.S. were badly strained last year over Ankara's acquisition of the advanced S-400 Russian air defense system, prompting Washington to remove Turkey from its F-35 Lightning II jet program.
The U.S. argued that the system could be used by Russia to covertly obtain classified details on the Lockheed Martin F-35 jets and is incompatible with NATO systems. Turkey, however, insists that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Previous talks between Turkey and the U.S. on the purchase of Patriots collapsed over a host of issues, from the S-400s to Ankara's dissatisfaction with Washington's terms. Turkey has said it will only agree to an offer if it included a technology transfer and joint production terms.
Ankara has repeatedly stressed it was the U.S.' refusal to sell Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding that Russia had offered a better deal, including technology transfers. Turkey even proposed setting up a commission to clarify any technical issues. During a visit to Washington last November, Erdoğan met with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump and agreed on setting up a working group.