US slaps sanctions on Turkey for purchasing Russia’s S-400 air defence system

  • The United States has imposed sanctions on Turkey for buying Russia’s S-400 defense system.
  • The US has stated that the acquisition of the weapons will ‘risk’ NATO’s security.
  • Turkey and Russia have both condemned the United States’ sanctions.

(Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday slapped sanctions on its NATO ally Turkey over its purchase of a Russian air defense system.

The US had previously kicked Turkey out of its F-35 stealth fighter development and training program over the purchase.

Nevertheless, US President Donald Trump had taken no further steps despite warnings from American officials who have long protested regarding the purchase of the Russian S-400.

US officials have claimed that the S-400 is incompatible with NATO equipment and is a possible threat to allied security.

The S-400 air defense system at Mürted Airfield Command, Ankara, Turkey. (Getty Images)

“The US made clear to Turkey that its acquisition of the S-400 system would threaten the security of US military technology & personnel & provide funds to Russia’s defense sector,” the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said.

“Turkey nonetheless decided to move ahead with the acquisition and testing of the S-400, despite the accessibility of alternative, NATO-interoperable systems to fulfill its defense requirements,” he said in a statement.

“I urge Turkey to resolve the S-400 problem immediately in coordination with the United States,” he said.

The Turkish defense ministry rejected claims that the S-400 systems would jeopardize NATO systems. “President Trump himself has admitted on many instances that Turkey’s possession was justified,” the ministry said in a statement.

It said Turkey “will retaliate in a manner and timing it deems appropriate” and urged “the US to reconsider this unfair decision.”

Military vehicles and equipment of the S-400 air defense systems are unloaded from a Russian transport aircraft at Mürted Airfield Command, Ankara, Turkey. (Turkish Defence Ministry via AP)

The US sanctions target Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries, its military procurement agency, its chief İsmail Demir, and three other top officials.

The penalties block any assets the four officials may have in US jurisdictions and bar their entry into the US.

They also include a ban on export licenses, loans, and credits to the agency.

On Monday, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, condemned US sanctions on Turkey over the purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system as “illegitimate.”

Economic implications of Russia's sanctions against Turkey

Last month, the Turkish Defence Minister, Bakanı Hulusi Akar, said Turkey was prepared to discuss with the US its “anxiety” over the compatibility of the S-400s and the F-35s.

The US reacted coolly to the suggestion, and Pompeo, shortly after that, did not meet any Turkish government officials on a visit to İstanbul.

Turkey says it was forced to buy the Russian system because the US refused to sell its American-made Patriot missiles.

Ankara has also pointed to what it deems a double standard, as NATO member Greece uses Russian-made missiles.

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