US considers three sanctions packages on Turkey over Russian S-400 systems
Iran Press TV
Wed Jun 19, 2019 02:17PM
US President Donald Trump's administration is weighing three packages of sanctions against Turkey over Ankara's decision to acquire advanced Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems.
Citing three unnamed people familiar with the matter, English-language Bloomberg television news network, reported on Wednesday that the most severe package under discussion between officials at the National Security Council and the State and Treasury departments would all but cripple Turkey's troubled economy, and would be in addition to Ankara's exclusion from the F-35 fighter jet program.
The sanctions proposal with the most support would target several companies in Turkey's key defense sector under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
The US Congress passed the CAATSA against Russia in August 2017 over allegations of interfering in the 2016 presidential election. The law, among other things, imposes sanctions on countries and companies that engage in contracts to purchase weaponry from Russia.
Such sanctions would effectively sever Turkish firms from the US financial system, making it almost impossible for them to buy American components or sell their products in the US.
The report came a day after Turkey accused the United States of not acting as an ally in the wake of Washington's ultimatum to Ankara to abandon the deal to buy S-400.
The Turkish defense ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that "the wording and approach" of a letter sent earlier this month by former Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan "was not in the spirit of an alliance (and) caused unease."
The ministry said Turkey's previously "known" opinions on acquiring the Russian missile defense system had been shared in a detailed manner.
Moscow and Ankara finalized an agreement on the delivery of the S-400 in December 2017.
Back in April 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said in Ankara that they had agreed to expedite the delivery of the S-400. At the time, it was said that the delivery could be made between late 2019 and early 2020.
A number of NATO member states have criticized Turkey for purchase of the S-400, arguing the missile batteries are not compatible with those of the military alliance.
They also argue that the purchase could jeopardize Ankara's acquisition of F-35 fighter jets and possibly result in US sanctions.
The S-400 is an advanced Russian missile system designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away. It has previously been sold only to China and India.
Ankara is striving to boost its air defense, particularly after Washington decided in 2015 to withdraw its Patriot surface-to-air missile system from Turkish border with Syria, a move that weakened Turkey's air defense.
Before gravitating towards Russia, the Turkish military reportedly walked out of a $3.4-billion contract for a similar Chinese system. The withdrawal took place under purported pressure from Washington.
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