Turkey Slams 'Unacceptable' US Bill Demanding Sanctions Over Purchase of Russia's S-400s
Earlier, Pentagon officials confirmed that Turkish pilots had been grounded from flight training aboard F-35 fighter jets at an Air Force base in Arizona, with Washington threatening to withhold deliveries of the fifth-gen aircraft if Ankara does not back out of its commitment to buy the Russian-made S-400 air defence system.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry has blasted a resolution by the House of Representatives promising sanctions through the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act over Ankara's S-400 purchase.
"The bill passed through the US House of Representatives on June 10 does not comply with the rooted amity and alliance relations of Turkey and the US. It is not possible to accept the unfair and groundless claims of the bill about Turkey's foreign policy and judicial system," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, Hurriyet Daily News has reported.
Calling the bill's "menacing tone" inadmissible, the foreign ministry stressed that the resolution was "unacceptable" and "nonbinding."
On Monday, the House approved a resolution calling on the Trump administration to fully apply sanctions against Turkey in the framework of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a law passed in 2017 enabling Washington to impose economic restrictions on any state that acquires military equipment from Russia.
The House resolution condemned Turkey's decision to buy Russia's S-400 air defence system, claiming that the US has offered Turkey a "strong, capable and NATO-interoperable" defence system in place of the S-400s, and charged that the S-400 deal "endangers the integrity of US-Turkey alliance and undermines NATO."
Earlier, the Pentagon confirmed that Turkish pilots were no longer receiving training aboard Lockheed's F-35 fighter aircraft in Arizona amid US threats to halt deliveries of the planes to Turkey over the S-400 deal.
The US has spent months trying to talk Turkey out of buying the S-400s. Last week, acting US Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan formally informed Ankara that it had until July 31 to backtrack on the S-400 missile deal, or face being booted out of the F-35 program. Up to now, Turkey has been a key partner nation in the F-35 development effort, providing several key components to the planes and committing to buy up to 120 of the aircraft.
Late last month, US acting assistant secretary of defence Kathryn Wheelbarger said that it would be "devastating" if Turkey went ahead with the S-400 deal, claiming it would be "inconceivable to imagine Russia not taking advantage" of opportunities to collect information on US and NATO systems, including the F-35.
On Monday, Turkish Defence Industries Directorate chief Ismail Demir indicated that the US side had not responded to Turkey's proposal to create a joint working group to discuss the threat to US systems supposedly posed by the S-400s. Demir reiterated that the S-400 issue was "closed" as far as Turkey is concerned.
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