Top U.S. senator warns Turkey of new sanctions for buying more S-400s

Robert Menendez, a top Democratic senator and the chairman of the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, warned Turkey that it would face sanctions if it bought a second battery of Russian-made S-400 air defence missiles.

“We were crystal clear when we wrote the CAATSA 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 said via his official Twitter account early on Tuesday.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed Ankara’s plans to go ahead with the purchase of the second batch of Russian-made S-400 missiles, despite Washington’s warnings that the defence system puts NATO’s security at risk.

"In the future, nobody will be able to interfere in terms of what kind of defence systems we acquire, from which country, at what level. Nobody can interfere with that. We are the only ones to make such decisions," Erdoğan told CBS News in an exclusive interview, that was aired on Sunday.

"Of course, yes," Erdoğan said in response to CBS’s question over its intention to buy another round of Russian missiles.

Turkey and the United States have a fractured relationship due to policy differences over Syria, Israel, Libya and Erdoğan’s decision to purchase S-400 air defence missiles from Russia, which has resulted in U.S. sanctions.

The Pentagon and State Department have called on Turkey to abandon a battery of missiles purchased from Russia in 2019 and to scrap plans to buy more, saying the system could gather sensitive information on NATO’s defences, including the new F-35 stealth fighter jet.

Turkey has been excluded from a programme to build and purchase the aircraft in response. The U.S. administration also imposed sanctions on Turkish defence officials under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) federal law.

On Monday, a U.S. State Department spokesperson also told Greece’s state broadcaster ERT that Turkey’s such a move to buy a new round of Russian missiles would generate fresh sanctions against it.

“We continue to make clear to Turkey that any significant new Russian arms purchases would risk triggering CAATSA sanctions separate from and in addition to those imposed in December 2020,” the official said.

“We urge Turkey at every level and opportunity not to retain the S-400 system and to refrain from purchasing any additional Russian military equipment,” the official said, Kathimerini newspaper reported.

 

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