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Erdoğan stated before summit in Washington that NATO should not become party to war in Ukraine

Erdoğan stated before summit in Washington that NATO should not become party to war in Ukraine President of Türkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (photo: Getty Images)

President of Türkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, warned NATO allies on Tuesday ahead of the summit of leaders not to take actions that could drag him into a war in Ukraine, reports Bloomberg.

"While designing the steps to be taken to support Ukraine, we also maintain our principled stance not to make NATO a party to the war," Erdoğan said at Ankara airport before departing for Washington.

He assured Türkiye's support for Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence.

Erdoğan also urged allies to lift trade restrictions on defense trade with his country.

"The implementation of the decisions we took in Vilnius regarding the fight against terrorism and the removal of obstacles to defense industry trade between the allies is important," Erdoğan said.

Trade in defense industry with Türkiye

Türkiye, which boasts the second largest army in the NATO alliance after the US, has long complained about its Western partners, including the US, Canada, UK, Germany, and France, refusing to provide missile defense systems and critical equipment such as engines for tanks, combat aircraft, drones, and helicopters developed by Turkish companies.

Most of these countries have expressed concerns that such equipment could bolster Turkish military operations against Kurdish fighters in Syria.

US sanctions against Türkiye for purchasing the Russian S-400

Currently, the US has imposed sanctions on Türkiye for its acquisition of the advanced Russian S-400 missile defense system, which NATO members believe could be used to gather intelligence on Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 stealth aircraft.

However, the US has agreed to sell F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye after Ankara approved NATO expansion by Sweden.

Erdoğan offered assistance to President Vladimir Putin in stopping full-scale war in Ukraine, but his offer was rejected.