Turkish presidential spokesman said that US President-elect Biden "knows Turkey," including its political actors and landscape.

Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin speaks to members of the press concerning the Syria Summit held in the Dolmabahçe Study Office of the Presidency with  representatives of France, Germany and Russia. September 14, 2018.
Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin speaks to members of the press concerning the Syria Summit held in the Dolmabahçe Study Office of the Presidency with representatives of France, Germany and Russia. September 14, 2018. (AA)

Turkey's Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has said that Ankara is hopeful for improved relations under US President-elect Joe Biden despite a history of problems that will likely transition to the incoming administration.

Addressing a virtual think tank event hosted by the German Marshall Fund on Wednesday, Kalin said Biden "knows Turkey," including its political actors and landscape.

"He and his team appreciate Turkey’s geopolitical and strategic value in terms of US-Turkish relations, but also on a larger scale of global politics. We believe that we can have a very good positive agenda with the Biden administration," said Kalin.

Turkey's S-400 procurement

Turkey has had a turbulent relationship with Donald Trump's administration President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also formed a bond with the outgoing president, who has spoken fondly of him.

One of the major obstacles that will have to be overcome are sanctions sought by several US lawmakers on Turkey over its procurement of an advanced Russian air defense system.

Washington has opposed the transaction, saying the system is incompatible with NATO systems and poses risks to the advanced F-35 stealth jet fighter.

MORE:The United States of Sanctions

Under pressure from lawmakers, the Trump administration removed Turkey from the F-35 program over the S-400 missile defence systems, but has so far refused to impose sanctions under what is known as the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which mandates economic penalties on countries that carry out major transactions with Moscow's defence industry.

A sweeping annual defense bill, a version of which was approved Tuesday by the House of Representatives, would require sanctions on Turkey over the S-400 purchase.

Kalin also warned that Biden needed to pay attention to "two pressing national security issues" for Turkey.

Kalin said Ankara turned to Russia for its air defense needs after the US repeatedly refused to sell it Raytheon's Patriot Missile systems after the US and Turkey were unable to agree on the terms.

MORE: Pentagon 'deeply concerned' over reported Turkish S-400 test

The acquisition of the S-400 "in our view, is a result, not a cause, of a number of problems that developed over years," Kalin said.

"We still believe that we can address this issue. That is, that if the concern is to maintain the security and safety of the F-35 program once they are here in Turkey and once the S-400 is there, we believe that from a technical-military point of view that issue can be addressed," he said.

"But we also know that it is no longer a technical-military issue. It was conceived by the Congress for having close defence industry relations with Russia, but penalising Turkey for that will be so counterproductive that it will hurt Turkish-US relations, but also it will not do any good. It will have the reverse effect," Kalin added.

MORE: NATO raises no objection to Ankara's S-400 move: Turkey

EU sanctions 'will never work'

Kalin, a top adviser and spokesman for Erdogan, called on the EU to avoid using “the language of sanctions and threats.”

“Sanctions will never work, they will have the reverse effect,” he told a video-conference. “We want to have a positive agenda, we want to turn a new page with the EU.”

Tensions between NATO allies Turkey and Greece escalated over the summer with a military build-up after Turkey sent Oruc Reis, escorted by navy frigates, in the eastern Mediterranean where the territory is contested by Athens.

MORE: Turkey: EU should be an honest mediator in Greece row

The move prompted Greece to also send its warships, and both countries conducted military exercises.

Turkey says it is standing up for its energy rights, as well as those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots, while Athens and Greek Cypriots call Turkey’s actions an illegal incursion into areas where they have exclusive offshore exploitation rights.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies