U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez has warned Turkey of fresh sanctions if Ankara goes ahead with the purchase of the second batch of Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems.
His warning came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to get the second batch.
“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,” Senator Menendez said on Twitter on Sept. 28, referring to the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act.
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. https://t.co/FfFTxjRKlI— Senate Foreign Relations Committee (@SFRCdems) September 27, 2021
Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO's broader defense systems. Turkey says it was unable to procure air defense systems from any NATO ally on satisfactory terms.
The United States imposed sanctions on Turkey's Defense Industry Directorate, its chief, İsmail Demir, and three other employees in December following the country's acquisition of the first batch of S-400s.
Talks continued between Russia and Turkey about the delivery of a second batch, which Washington has repeatedly said would almost certainly trigger new sanctions.
"In the future, nobody will be able to interfere in terms of what kind of defense systems we acquire, from which country at what level," Erdoğan said in an interview that aired on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sept. 26.
"Nobody can interfere with that. We are the only ones to make such decisions," Erdoğan added, prompting a U.S. State Department spokesperson to urge Ankara to refrain from purchasing additional arms from Russia.
"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 spokesperson said.
"We continue to make clear to Turkey that any significant new Russian arms purchases would risk triggering CAATSA 231 sanctions separate from and in addition to those imposed in December 2020," the spokesperson added.