Ilhan Tanir
Jul 23 2019

Dems disappointed to be excluded from Trump's discussions on Turkey sanctions

This story has been updated by the list of GOP senators joining the meeting at the White House at the end.

Republican Senator Rick Scott is preparing to discuss a resolution, which condemns Ankara’s increased ties to Moscow and calls on Washington allies to discuss Turkey’s role in NATO, during a meeting of GOP senators with U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

Scott, along with fellow Republican Senator Todd C. Young last week introduced a resolution which calls for full implementation of sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), describing Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 air and missile defence system as a threat to the U.S. national security and the NATO alliance.

Tuesday’s meeting between Trump and GOP senators is set to take place at 4 p.m. EST.

“It is our responsibility to protect the safety of American families and our allies, and we must call upon members of NATO to determine if Turkey presents a danger to the alliance,” Florida’s Sunshine State News quoted Scott as saying.

Turkey earlier this month began taking delivery of the Russian surface-to-air missile systems despite objections from Washington, which has concerns that the S-400s could jeopardize the security of NATO's F-35 fighter jets.

Scott’s resolution, which was sent to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, is one in a chorus of  calls on Capitol Hill to sanction Turkey over the purchase of the S-400, a move the administration of Donald Trump has been reluctant to support.

Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today led a letter to President Trump from all of the Democrats on the Committee, urging him to impose sanctions on Turkey for its decision to accept delivery of the Russian S400 air defense system, and to engage with Democrats on this critical national security issue.

In addition to Senator Menendez, the letter was also signed by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

“We believe that a strong response to Turkish President Erdogan’s acceptance of the Russian S400 air defense system must be delivered because, without decisive action by the United States, our position in NATO and the strength of our sanctions regime on Russia will suffer,” wrote the senators. “United States foreign policy is most effective and durable when done in a bipartisan way.”

The letter also expressed "disappointment" that the Trump administration has decided "not to engage with Democratic Senators with respect to the mandatory legal requirement that sanctions be imposed on Turkey in response to its purchase of the Russian S400 Air defense system."

The letter said that the Democratic members agree with the administration on the sanction issue against Turkey.

For example, we agree with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who on July 14th said the following to the Washington Post:

“The law requires that there be sanctions and I’m confident that we will comply with the law and President Trump will comply with the law."

Washington last week removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter programme, following its procurement of the Russian system.

We believe that a strong response to Turkish President Erdogan’s acceptance of the Russian S400 air defense system must be delivered because, without decisive action by the United States, our position in NATO and the strength of our sanctions regime on Russia will suffer. We also hope that Turkey can one day reorient itself to being a bridge between the East and West and return to being a constructive member of NATO that respects human rights and democratic principles.

Turkey, one of the co-manufacturers of the F-35s, has already invested $ 1.2 billion in this project. Around 900 different components of the aircraft are manufactured by Turkish companies.

Per White House, list of senators who came to WH for meeting on potential Turkish sanctions emailed by the White House pool.
 
The President is meeting with the following Republican members of the U.S. Senate:

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)
Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Senator John Boozman (R-AR)
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN)
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Senator Steve Daines (R-MT)
Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO)
Senator John Hoeven (R-ND)
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Senator John Kennedy (R-LA)
Senator James Lankford (R-OK)
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ)
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
Senator David Perdue (R-GA)
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
Senator James Risch (R-ID)
Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT)
Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD)
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE)
Senator Rick Scott (R-FL)
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
Senator John Thune (R-SD)
Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC)
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Senator Todd Young (R-IN)