Turkey vows response after US sanctions over Russian S-400 Triumf purchase

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Turkey has promised a response that will cause a negative impact on the mutual relations and rejected the US justification for the sanctions over the threat supposedly posed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) by its S-400s, hinting that such claims have no basis in reality.  After being at odds for more than a year, the United States has imposed sanctions on its NATO ally Turkey for acquiring the Russian S-400 Triumf missile defense system. Earlier, the US had blocked Turkish participation in the F-35 fighter jet program, citing the Turkish government’s decision to purchase S-400 missile defense system.  The F-35 program “cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence-collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,”  said White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.

“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 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement.  Pompeo also pointed out the availability of alternative systems that were compatible with those used by NATO.

A Mistake says Turkey over the US move

The Turkish Foreign Ministry responded by saying that the US decision lacked “legitimate justification” and was breaking the “spirit of the alliance” between the two countries. “We call on the United States to come back from this mistake that will cause irreparable damage to our strategic ties,” the ministry said in a statement.

Turkey also promised retaliation. Turkey will “take the necessary steps against this decision, which will inevitably have a negative impact on our relations. Furthermore, Turkey will not refrain from taking measures it considers necessary to ensure its national security,” said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.

Rejecting the US justification for the sanctions over the threat supposedly posed to NATO by its S-400s, the Ministry wrote ” Turkey had proposed the creation of a technical working group with NATO’s participation and has repeatedly proposed resolving this issue on an objective and realistic basis, without political bias. We invite the United States to reconsider this unfair decision.”    

Still a valuable ally

Pompeo while announcing the Treasury’s new S-400-related sanctions on Ankara, said that Turkey remains an important ally to the US.  “I also urge Turkey to resolve the S-400 problem immediately in coordination with the United States. Turkey is a valued Ally and an important regional security partner for the United States, and we seek to continue our decades-long history of productive defence-sector cooperation by removing the obstacle of Turkey’s S-400 possession as soon as possible,” said Pompeo.

Russia defends Ankara

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has put his weight behind Turkey stating Moscow did not find the sanctions surprising. “This is, of course, another manifestation of an arrogant attitude towards international law, a manifestation of illegitimate, unilateral coercive measures that the United States has been using for many years, already decades, left and right,” Lavrov said, he said during a visit to Bosnia.  

Russia and Turkey had signed a $2.5 billion S-400 contract in late 2017. Along with the equipment, Moscow offered Turkey a liberal credit deal as Washington stalled on the sale of the latest generation of Patriot missile systems to Turkey.

S-400 Triumf, developed by Russian Almaz-Antey Group, is a long-and medium-range air defense missile system designed to intercept air threats including stealth aircraft. The S-400 is capable of tackling targets at a distance of up to 250 km.  

China and India have also ordered the S-400 system from Russia. So far the US has sidestepped the question over imposing sanctions on India in reference to its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for the purchase of S-400 from Russia. CAATSA bans countries from buying equipment worth more than $15 million from defence Russian companies listed under it and imposes sanctions against them.


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