December 16, 2020
Russian S-400 anti-missile system. (Reuters)
The United States on Monday sanctioned Turkey for buying the S-400 Russian missile defense system, targeting its military procurement agency, AFP reports.
The United States banned all US export licenses and loan credits for the agency, the Presidency of Defense Industries, and said it would not allow its president, Ismail Demir, to travel or hold assets in the United States.
Turkey signed a contract with Russia in 2017 to purchase the S-400 system, raising the ire of the United States.
A law passed overwhelmingly by Congress that year lays out sanctions against nations that buy significant quantities of arms from US adversaries including Russia.
The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were delivered to Turkey in July of 2019. Russia then delivered a second battery of S-400s a month later.
The US has already kicked out Turkey from its elite F-35 fighter-jet program after it bought the S-400 system. In late October, a US official said Turkey faced a risk of sanctions after it defiantly tested the S-400.
Turkey has repeatedly made clear it will use the Russian system despite US threats of sanctions.
"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 US 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," said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday.
"Turkey nevertheless decided to move ahead with the procurement and testing of the S-400, despite the availability of alternative, NATO-interoperable systems to meet its defense requirements," he added.
The Turkish foreign ministry called the decision "unfair" and urged the United States to reconsider.
"Turkey stands ready to address this issue through dialogue and diplomacy in conformity with the spirit of alliance," the Turkish foreign ministry said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the sanctions "another manifestation of an arrogant attitude towards international law" by the US which pursues its own "illegitimate, unilateral coercive measures."