The U.S. Department of State's sanctions against a Turkish defense agency and four of its officials in response to Ankara’s refusal to abandon the acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defense systems are set to take effect on April 7.
The sanctions, which will be published in the Federal Register on April 7, are being brought against the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), a government agency tasked with managing military technology and Turkey’s defense industry.
The U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020 imposed sanctions on the SSB, its president and three employees.
The measures were announced under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) -- the first time the act has been used against a fellow member of the NATO military alliance.
They include a ban on all U.S. export licences as well as asset freezes and visa restrictions for SSB's president, İsmail Demir, and three other employees.
According to the State Department's April 5 announcement, the SSB “has knowingly engaged in a significant transaction with a person that is part of, or operates for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation.”
Ankara and Washington have been at odds over issues including Syria policy, human rights and the S-400 air defense acquisition, over which the United States has sanctioned Turkey and removed it from its F-35 fighter jet program.
In March, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said he told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Ankara's purchase of Russian air defenses was "a done deal."
"On the S-400s, we reminded them once again why Turkey had to buy them, and repeated that Turkey had bought them and this is a done deal," Çavuşoğlu told reporters on March 24 in Brussels after their first face-to-face meeting since Blinken took office.
The U.S. State Department said Blinken had "urged Turkey not to retain the Russian S-400 air defense system." Washington has repeatedly rejected a working group to discuss the S-400s.