Last month, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey’s defence industry chief and others over Ankara’s acquisition of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia, a move that Turkey called a “grave mistake.”
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey can never accept anyone’s dictation on the country’s defence industry including from its NATO partners.
"No country can determine the steps we will take in our defence industry. This depends entirely on our decision," Erdogan said on Friday, following a prayer in Istanbul.
Last month, The United States imposed sanctions on Turkey's defence industry over its acquisition of S-400 missile defence systems from Moscow, in a move Turkey called a "grave mistake."
Washington has also removed fellow NATO member Turkey from the F-35 programme saying the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO's broader defence systems.
Turkey rejected the claim, saying the S-400s will not be integrated into NATO and purchasing them was a necessity as it was unable to procure air defence systems from any NATO ally on satisfactory terms.
'Very serious mistake'
In April 2017, when protracted efforts to buy an air defence system from the US proved futile, Turkey signed a contract with Russia to acquire its state-of-art S-400 missile shield.
US officials voiced opposition to their deployment, claiming they would expose F-35 jets to possible Russian subterfuge.
Turkish officials have repeatedly proposed a working group to examine the technical compatibility issue.
"Although we paid a huge amount of money, the F-35 jets have unfortunately not been given to us yet. This is, of course, a very serious mistake the US committed as an ally country in international diplomacy," Erdogan said.
He went on to say that he hopes the US would take positive steps in this regard following the transition of the presidency to Joe Biden.
Erdogan also said tech giants use "digital dictatorship" to threaten humanity with laws reminiscent of the US' wild west.
"Those who hold the data establish their own digital dictatorship, disregarding democracy, law, and all rights and freedoms," Erdogan said to reporters in Istanbul.
"When we defined some of the impositions faced by our country as digital fascism, some were disturbed by this. Recent events have shown where the audacity of this fascism can extend," he added.
The Turkish leader highlighted the importance of data in the digital age, comparing it to gold, oil and iron in the industrial revolution.
"Those who are in control of this business have the opportunity to direct this chaos as they wish and to transform it into political, social and economic consequences," he warned.
Budget balance deficit
Erdogan also announced the Turkish central government's budget balance posted a $24.7 billion (nearly 173 billion Turkish lira) deficit in 2020, easily beating the target of $34 billion (239 billion Turkish liras).
"If Turkey achieves its growth target for 2020, the budget-deficit-to-GDP ratio will hit 3.6 percent, beating the mid-term program target," said the president.
Under the country’s new economic program announced last September, the government had expected to see a 4.9 percent budget-deficit-to-gross-domestic-product ratio.
But in light of promising new figures, Turkey's new 2021 target for budget-deficit-to-GDP ratio is 3.5 percent, the president added.
The country's budget revenues in 2020 reached over $147 billion (1 trillion Turkish liras) while expenditures hit $171 billion (1.2 trillion Turkish liras), he stressed.