The US has sanctioned its fellow Nato ally Turkey over its installation of a Russian-made missile defence system procured last year. The US says Russia's S-400 surface-to-air missile system is conflicting with Nato technology and a threat to the Euro-Atlantic alliance.
The sanctions announced on Monday by the state department target Turkey's weapons procurement sector. The move was denounced at full tilt by officials in Turkey and Russia. The US had already kicked Turkey out of its F-35 fighter jet programme over the purchase of the Russian-made missile system.
Why Is The US Objecting?
The United States explicated to Turkey at the highest levels and on various occasions that the purchase of S-400 system would risk the security of US military technology and personnel and offer significant funds to Russia's defense sector, as well as Russian entry to the Turkish armed forces and defense industry, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
Turkey yet decided to proceed further with the acquisition and testing of the S-400, despite the availability of alternative, NATO-interoperable systems to meet its defense requirements, he continued. I urge Turkey to resolve the S-400 problem immediately in coordination with the United States, he said. 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 defense-sector cooperation by removing the obstacle of Turkey's S-400 possession as soon as possible.
The latest sanctions target Directorate President Ismail Demir of Turkey's Defence Industries, and three other employees. They include a ban on US export licences, as well a freeze on any assets that are in US jurisdictions.
How Does Turkey React?
Turkey's foreign ministry prompted the US to reassess this unfair decision as announced today, adding that Turkey stands ready to address the issue through dialogue and diplomacy in conformity with the spirit of alliance.
The ministry warned that US sanctions will certainly impact our relations negatively, and we will hit back in a manner and time it sees appropriate.
Ankara argues that the Russian system was purchased after the US derelict to sell US-made Patriot missiles. Turkish officials point to the fact that Greece, another Nato ally, has their own S-300, though that was not acquired directly from Russia.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also denounced the US decision as another manifestation of an haughty attitude towards international law. A manifestation of illegitimate, unilateral peremptory measures that the United States has been using for many years, already decades, left and right, Mr. Lavrov continued.
How Important Is Turkey?
Turkey has the second-largest army in Nato, a 30-member military alliance. It is one of the US's crucial allies, and is located in a strategic position, sharing borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran.
It has also played an important role in the Syria conflict, providing arms and military support to some rebel groups. However, it has seen relations collapse with some Nato members and the EU, who have alleged Mr. Erdogan for adopting a steadily more authoritarian style following a failed coup in 2016.