U.S. sanctions Turkey for acquiring S400 air defense system from Russia

WASHINGTON – The United States today announced the sanctioning of Turkey over its purchase of the Russian air defense system S400. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions on defense officials of the Turkish Defense Industries (SSB) under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

CAATSA was passed in 2017 in Congress when Turkey bought the S400 and requires the U.S. to impose sanctions on countries buying weapons and military equipment from NATO-adversary Russia. Turkey was already removed from the Joint Strike Fighter (F35) project after it S400 acquisition.

According to the statement by Pompeo, the sanctions include a ban on all U.S. export licenses and authorizations to Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries (Savunma Sanayii Başkanlığı, SSB) and an asset freeze and visa restrictions on the head of the SSB and other SSB officers.

“The United States made clear to Turkey at the highest levels and on numerous occasions that its purchase of the S-400 system would endanger the security of U.S. military technology and personnel and provide substantial funds to Russia’s defense sector, as well as Russian access to the Turkish armed forces and defense industry,” says the statement.

Last week, the European Union Summit imposed limited sanctions on Turkish persons and entities linked to oil and gas drilling in the Mediterranean Sea.

Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the U.S. sanctions saying that conditions which compelled Turkey to acquire S-400 systems are well known and that president Trump himself has admitted on many instances that Turkey’s acquisition was justified. In its official reaction Turkey urges “the U.S. to reconsider this unfair decision as announced today and to rectify this grave mistake as soon as possible, while emphasizing once again that Turkey stands ready to address this issue through dialogue and diplomacy in conformity with the spirit of alliance.”