The US ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, on Wednesday warned Ankara that American pharmaceutical companies could abandon it if Turkey did not pay its debt.
Speaking at the US-Turkey Business Council, Mr Satterfield said Turkey’s debt to US pharmaceutical companies increased from $230 million to $2.3 billion in the past year and was damaging the relationship.
“Companies will consider departing the Turkish market or will reduce exposure to Turkish market,” he said. “This is not a direction that serves the interests of Turkey.”
Describing it as a “significant issue”, Mr Satterfield said there would be consequences if the issue were not settled.
“There will be a consequence to non-payment of debt or to demands that companies accept a reduction in the total for equipment and services provided,” he said.
Mr Satterfield urged that the issue be addressed promptly.
He said US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross was given assurances by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year that the debt would be paid.
Mr Ross visited Turkey last September in hopes of reaching a $100bn trade deal.
Read More: The National