Erdogan Claims US Sanctions Part of “Hostile Stance” Against Turkish Sovreignty

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan charged on Wednesday in a videoconference address that the sanctions imposed by the United States as punishment for his nation’s purchase of the S-400 missile system from Russia last year was evidence of the US’ “hostile stance” regarding Turkish sovereignty.

Erdogan went on to state that the sanctions, green lighted during last Friday’s Senate vote, will “fail” in what he believes was the American aim of deterring its NATO ally Turkey’s own defense industry purchases.

He then stated, however, that the problems posed by the wide-ranging sanctions, which were levied against both individuals and firms in the Turkish defense industry, would be overcome.

On Saturday, in a swipe aimed at the United States after the passing of the Armed Forces Bill, the top advisor to Erdogan said that his country would “teach all the Americans how to swim in Aegean waters.”

Mesut Hakki Caşın, one of Erdogan’s top aides, who has said previously that he would personally execute Greek soldiers, made the remark apparently in response to the US Senate’s almost unanimous passing of the gargantuan bill, which stipulates that Turkey must face sanctions for its 2019 purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system.

The bill passed with much more than a two-thirds majority, which means that it cannot be vetoed by the President, who had threatened in the past to do so.

Erdogan’s adviser stated the day after the bill was voted into effect that American troops would face the same treatment that Greeks received back in 1922, when the entire population of Smyrna was rounded up and forced into the harbor area of the city.

Caşın boasted on live television “Our two battalions would invade there and teach all the Americans how to swim in Aegean waters.”

Approximately 100,000 ethnic Greek people died as a result of the Smyrna fire and being drowned as they desperately tried to make it onto boats and ships in the harbor.

Turkish officials often use the phrase as they recall how Turkish troops routed the Greek people from their ancestral homeland, saying that they “threw the Greeks into the sea” or “taught Greeks how to swim.”

Caşın, who is a member of Turkey’s Presidential Board for Security and Foreign Policy, openly stated that American military bases in the country might be closed.

“We can also close our (military) bases (to US troops). Let the US take its radar (the NATO radar base in Kürecik) away. The radar does not work for us anyway,” he complained.

Caşın continued, saying “İncirlik (air base) as well. İncirlik is not as important as in the Cold War, but I will say this,” he stated, asking “Why should we protect the Americans in İncirlik after the US already took the Patriot (missiles) away?”