Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asks for a translator as US President Donald Trump issues a statement to the press during a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 21, 2017.
Brendan Smylovsky | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration on Monday imposed sanctions on Turkey over its multi-billion-dollar acquisition of a Russian missile system.
The move, which is expected to further prolong tensions between Washington and Ankara in the weeks leading up to the election of President-elect Joe Biden to the White House, is expected to send a message to foreign governments considering future arms deals with Russia.
In 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a $ 2.5 billion deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the S-400 missile system.
The S-400, an aerial missile system from a mobile surface, is said to pose a threat to NATO allies and the F-35, America’s most expensive weapons base.
Turkey accepted four missile batteries in July 2019, despite warnings from the United States and other NATO allies. A week later, The United States cut off financial and manufacturing partner Turkey from the F-35 program.
Air missile system from a Russian S-400 surface.
Sergei Malkovko | Toss via Getty Images
Turkey faced potential sanctions for adopting the Kremlin’s missile system under the Anti-American Anti-Terrorism Act signed by Trump in August 2017. Trump has not yet imposed sanctions on Turkey.
“Turkey is a valuable ally and a key regional security partner for the United States. We seek to continue the decades-long history of manufacturing defense cooperation by quickly lifting the embargo on Turkey’s S-400 possession,” Secretary Mike Pompeo wrote in a statement announcing sanctions.
The sanctions restrict all US export licenses and accreditations to the defense industry by the president of Turkey, and impose property freezes and visa restrictions on the organisation’s chairman, Ismail Demir, and other top officials.
“Well, this is a very bad time. Strong, well-designed sanctions are a painful delay,” said Thomas Karako, director of the Missile Defense Program at the Center for Economic and Economic Studies, when asked about sanctions.
“Details are very important. It will become a softball. If sanctions are to make sense, they cannot be just tokens,” Karako added.
More than a year after the missile system was issued, the timing of the embargo could have the potential to shake up relations between Ankara and Washington for incoming Biden administration.
Foreign officials underestimated the process of enforcing sanctions as “too serious” and “deliberate.”
“It took time to act through these complex issues, including that Turkey is a NATO friendly country, so I will not read much of this time, why not today and yesterday or three months ago,” Matthew Palmer, deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, told reporters during a call. . “It’s time for us to end this planned process.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin met last April.
Adam Alton | AFP | Getty Images
The latest revelation comes just two months after reports emerged that the Turkish military had begun testing the S-400 system.
In October, the Department of Defense and the State Department condemned the apparent missile test on Turkey’s Black Sea coast.
“The United States has told the Turkish government at the highest levels that the purchase of Russian military equipment, such as the S-400, is unacceptable,” said Morgan Ordakas, a spokesman for the State Department. Wrote in an email statement at the time.
“The United States is clear in our expectation that the S-400 system will not work,” he added.
“We oppose Turkey’s purchase of this organization and are deeply concerned about reports that Turkey is implementing it,” the Pentagon’s chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in an email. “It should not be enforced. Doing so would have serious consequences for our security relationship.”
The S-400, the successor to the S-200 and S-300 missile systems, was introduced in 2007. Compared to US systems, the Russian-made S-400 is believed to be capable of attracting a wide range of targets, even against multiple limits at once.
The rocket is launched from the S-400 missile system on September 22, 2020 at the Ashuluk military base in southern Russia.
Dimitar Tilkoff | AFP | Getty Images
In a bid to prevent Turkey from buying the S-400, the State Department offered to sell the country in 2013 and 2017. RadionPatriotic missile system. Ankara twice crossed the Patriots mark because the United States refused to change the organization’s key missile technology.
“We have repeatedly tried through our diplomatic channels to find a way to resolve this without engaging in the imposition of these sanctions,” Christopher Ford, assistant secretary of state for international security and control, explained during a press conference.
“We have repeatedly provided them with military equipment to help meet their operational needs without provoking sanctions. In fact, this is an excellent response in terms of the Turkish NATO platform. There is no way. “
Despite facing US sanctions, a dozen countries Have expressed interest in buying Russia’s S-400 Missile system.