US set to sanction Turkey over Russian defence system

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Dec 11, 2020, 07:59 AM(IST)

Turkish President Erdogan Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

According to Reuters, this move is likely to worsen already problematic ties between the two NATO allies.

The United States is poised to impose sanctions on Turkey over its acquisition last year of Russian S-400 air defence systems, a report said.

According to Reuters, this move is likely to worsen already problematic ties between the two NATO allies.

The long-anticipated step, which is likely to infuriate Ankara and severely complicate relations with the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, could be announced any day.

The sanctions would target Turkey's Presidency of Defence Industries and its head, Ismail Demir, sources have said. They would be damaging but narrower than the severe scenarios some analysts have outlined.

US sanctions could harm a Turkish economy struggling with a coronavirus-induced slowdown, double-digit inflation and badly depleted foreign reserves.

The decision will have repercussions far beyond Turkey, sending a message to US partners around the world who might consider buying Russian military equipment and have been warned repeatedly about US sanctions.

Trump long opposed US sanctions against Turkey despite the advice of advisors. Officials in his administration internally recommended sanctions against Ankara in July 2019, when the Turkish government started taking delivery of the S-400s, Reuters said.

But sanctions appeared likely even if Trump did not act.

The US State Department could still change plans and widen or narrow the scope of planned sanctions against Turkey. However, sources said the announcement of the sanctions in their current form was imminent.

The final version of the $740 billion annual US defence authorisation legislation, which the Senate is expected to vote on as early as this week, would force Washington to impose sanctions within 30 days.

Russia delivered the ground-to-air S-400s last year and Turkey tested them as recently as October. Ankara said they would not be integrated into NATO systems and pose no threat, and has called for a joint working group on the issue.

But the United States maintained that the S-400 does pose a threat, and announced last year it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program over Ankara's decision.

(with inputs from Reuters)

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