The United States has decided to impose sanctions on the Turkish government agency in charge of purchasing weapons for Ankara’s possession of the Russian S-400 air defense system, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday.
Turkey was quick to denounce the sanctions and its Foreign Ministry said, “We call on the United States to reconsider this unfair decision (…) and reiterate our readiness to discuss the issue through dialogue and diplomacy, in line with the spirit of the alliance.”
In turn, Moscow condemned the US sanctions, saying they are “illegal.” “The measures are taken today send a clear message that the United States will fully implement (American law) and will not tolerate any major deals with the Russian defense and intelligence sectors,” Pompeo said in a statement.
The administration of US President Donald Trump announced that it would deny all export licenses to the Defense Industries Administration and would refuse to grant any visas to its president, Ismail Demir.
Last year, Russia delivered the S-400 air defense system to Turkey, despite warnings that the matter was inconsistent with Ankara’s membership in NATO. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that imposing the sanctions would be a “disrespectful” step as his government proceeded with tests on the Russian system.
Pompeo added, “The United States has made clear to Turkey at the highest levels on numerous occasions that its purchase of the S-400 system will pose a threat to the security of American military technology and its personnel and will provide significant financing for the Russian defense sector, and for the Russians’ access to the Turkish armed forces and its defense sector.”
“However, Turkey decided to go ahead with the purchase and testing of the S-400 system despite the existence of interoperable systems of NATO as an alternative that meets its defense needs,” he said. The United States expelled Turkey from the joint efforts to develop the F-35 fighter.