The Trump administration is considering sanctions to punish Turkey over its purchases of the Russian S-400 missile-defense system, according to Bloomberg.
The U.S. and Turkey have disputed over the purchases of S-400 missile-defense system in recent years since Turkey has expressed its interest in the defense system. The U.S has repeatedly warned Ankara against buying the system.
Turkey participates in F-35 jet fighter program where it manufactures key parts for the F-35 for Lockheed Martin Corp.
From the military perspective, installing S-400 into NATO systems will expose the F-35 to Russian and enable Moscow to access all sorts of useful intelligence. This creates “unacceptable risks” for the U.S., a Department of Defense official said last Thursday.
“The radar system would provide Russia with military sensitive info on the F-35, which is our top-quality fifth-generation aircraft,” Andrew Winternitz, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO policy, said at a panel hosted by Foreign Policy magazine.
“From our perspective, there are no measures that can mitigate our concerns on this,” he added.
From Turkey side, it seems that Turkey takes advantage of its key geographical location as leverage to insist on buying the system, ignoring warnings from its NATO allies.
One of the top sanction options is to hold off sales of the F35 jet to Turkey if President Recep Tayyip Erdogan still goes on buying the Russian system.
Another most supported option is to target some companies in Turkey’s key defense sector under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, which targets entities doing business with Russia. Such sanctions would terminates those companies from the U.S. financial system, making it almost impossible for them to buy American components or sell their products in the U.S, according to Bloomberg.
The U.S. could impose sanctions as early as July, the soonest time Turkey could start receiving components of the S-400 system. President Trump has not made any decision before a G 20 meeting in Japan next week, where he is expected to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Bloomberg.
In response to possible sanctions from the U.S., Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Friday that Turkey will “take reciprocal steps,” according to Daily Sabah, a Turkish pro-government daily.
“If the United States takes any negative actions toward us, we will also take reciprocal steps,” he said. “Turkey will never retreat on its deal to buy Russian S-400 missile defense systems.” “We will not take a step back,” he added. “We will continue our dedication in order to be an independent and free nation.”