US warns Turkey that it will impose additional sanctions if Ankara buys more Russian missile systems
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The US State Department has warned Turkey that it could face more sanctions if it buys any additional S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia.
A State Department spokesperson clarified this shortly after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that his country would buy more S-400s from Russia despite strong objections from Washington and the NATO alliance. Both warn Turkey, a fellow NATO member, that the system is incompatible with NATO systems and could even pose a security risk.
"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, according to Reuters.
"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."
CAATSA refers to the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) introduced in 2017. It compels the United States to impose sanctions on any country that engages in significant financial transactions with the Russian defense sector.
Turkey ordered S-400s in 2017 and began taking delivery of them in 2019 as part of a deal worth an estimated $2.5 billion.
In December 2020, the US finally slapped sanctions on Turkey's Defense Industry Directorate in response to its procurement. Turkey was also automatically removed from the fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Program (JSF) once it began taking delivery of the systems and banned from buying any of those advanced stealth fighters for its air force. The US had repeatedly warned Turkey that it would not allow the F-35 to operate in the same military as the S-400, fearing the Russian system could glean information about the jet's advanced capabilities.
On Sunday, in an interview with CBS, Erdogan doubled down on his country's contentious decision to buy the Russian systems and said it would not back down from buying more.
"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," he said. "Nobody can interfere with that. We are the only ones to make such decisions."