Trump doesn't see sanctions 'right now' on Turkey

Saturday, 20 Jul, 2019

Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems has led to the termination of Ankara's involvement with the F-35 program by March 2020, the White House announced on Wednesday.

The U.S. cut Turkey out of the program after Ankara accepted delivery of some Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems.

But Trump's administration has stopped short of imposing sanctions on Turkey, despite the sweeping 2017 sanctions law, known as CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act).

The Turkish Foreign Ministry called on the United States on Thursday to reconsider this decision, which "may deal irreparable harm to bilateral relations.".

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed "unease" on Thursday over Washington's decision to remove Turkey from the joint strike fighter programme, broadcaster CNN Turk said.

Washington is expected to level sanctions against Ankara under the so-called Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which mandates United States sanctions against anyone making a significant deal with the Russian defense industry. Despite the tensions, the two also discussed a possible date for Trump to visit Turkey, according to the statement.

Ms. Grisham added that the United States "still greatly values" its strategic relationship with Ankara and would "continue to cooperate with Turkey extensively, mindful of constraints due to the presence of the S-400 system in Turkey".

Delivery of the long-range air defense hardware continued, with 15 shipments having so far landed at the Murted Air Base in the capital Ankara over the past week.

Stavridis also argued against the US suspending Turkey's purchase of F-35 fighter jets, asking if the purchase could "not be delayed (instead of canceled under sanctions) while North Atlantic Treaty Organisation works out the problems".

If approved, Scott's resolution would call for "full implementation of sanctions under CAATSA", describing Turkey's purchase of the S-400 air and missile defense system as a "direct and dire threat" to USA security interests.

The US says the Russian air defence system is created to shoot down North Atlantic Treaty Organisation aircraft and can collect critical intelligence that could compromise stealth capabilities of the fifth-generation fighter.

The currency has been hit this year by Washington's threats that it would impose sanctions on its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally should it go through with the purchase of the Russian system.

"You have to ask yourself: Why would Erdogan really want a Russian system?" one of the USA officials asked.

"This administration has made multiple offers to move Turkey to the front of the line to receive the US Patriot air defence system", it said in a statement.

Turkey has ordered more than 100 of the F-35 fighter jets, while its defense industry has invested significant sums into the production of the warplanes.

Turkey makes more than 900 components for the stealth aircraft, which is sold internationally.

Lord, the Pentagon official, said Turkey stands to lose $9 billion in future earnings as an F-35 parts supplier. Dendias said the two "had the opportunity to exchange views on various issues, the most important one being ⁠-and always will be⁠-the issue of Turkish aggression, both towards Cyprus, the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, and towards Greece's sovereign rights in the wider region of the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean". She refused to say whether the decision could be reversed.