Those who threaten Turkey with sanctions will end up disappointed, the nation’s president said on Saturday.

“We are determined to put across that Turkey will never hesitate to use its sovereign rights,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a highway opening.

Erdogan, addressing the opening ceremony via video link, added: “Becoming a major hub for intercontinental trade is a major achievement for Turkey which will benefit all 83 million of our people.”

On international investments in Turkey, the president said: “We expect a big breakthrough in the days to come.”

The US on Monday imposed sanctions on Turkey over its acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

The sanctions target Turkey’s Defense Industries Presidency (SSB), including its top officials.

In April 2017, when its protracted efforts to buy an air defense system from the US proved futile, Turkey signed a contract with Russia to acquire the state-of-art missile shield.

US officials have voiced opposition to their deployment, claiming they would be incompatible with NATO systems and would expose F-35 jets to possible Russian subterfuge.

Turkey, however, stressed that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems, and poses no threat to the alliance or its armaments.

Turkish officials have repeatedly proposed a working group to examine the technical compatibility issue.

Hospital fire in intensive care unit

The president also extended condolences to the relatives of the deceased and wished Allah’s mercy on those who lost their lives from a fire in a hospital in the southeastern Gaziantep province on Saturday.

The fire was caused by a high-flow oxygen therapy machine used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, according to a statement by the SANKO University Hospital.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca confirmed that nine people died in the fire.

A total of 51 people, including doctors, medical personnel and security guards, were affected by the fire while trying to transfer patients from the scene, and 10 staff members are receiving oxygen therapy, the hospital said in a statement.

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