Turkey buying more S-400 missiles will mean new sanctions: US senator

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US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez said on Monday that Ankara’s plan to purchase additional Russian S-400 missiles would result in new sanctions.

“We were crystal clear when we wrote the CAATSA [Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act] law: Sanctions are mandated for any entity that does significant business with the Russian military or intelligence sectors. Any new purchases by Turkey must mean new sanctions,” Menendez tweeted, referring to the remarks of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who stated Ankara’s intention to buy new Russian missiles last week in an interview with CBS News.

The statement came ahead of a critical meeting between Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Wednesday.

Turkey and Russia have been negotiating over technology transfer and local production ahead of a potential purchase of additional S-400 missiles.

Turkey’s initial purchase of S-400s from Russia strained ties with the United States and its NATO allies.

Despite warnings from the United States and other NATO allies, Erdoğan brokered a deal worth $2.5 billion with Putin for the S-400 missile system in 2017.

Despite Washington’s warnings and threats of US sanctions, Turkey started taking delivery of the first S-400s in July 2019. In response, Washington removed Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, in which Ankara was a manufacturer and buyer.

The S-400, a mobile surface-to-air missile system, could pose a risk to the NATO alliance as well as to the F-35, America’s most expensive weapons platform.

Washington imposed sanctions in December on Turkey’s military procurement agency as punishment for its purchase of the Russian-made missile defense system under CAATSA, which mandates penalties for transactions deemed harmful to US interests.

Turkey’s Presidency of the Defense Industry (SSB), its chief İsmail Demir and three other officials were targeted by the sanctions, which include a ban on all US export licenses and authorizations to SSB as well as asset freezes and visa restrictions on Demir and the other individuals.

The US had also previously removed Turkey from its F-35 stealth fighter development and training program over the S-400 purchase.

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