Several sources recently said that the U.S. government will announce sanctions against Turkey to punish the latter for purchasing S-400 air defense systems from Russia last year.
In response, Turkish President Erdoğan said on the 11th that if the United States impose sanctions, it will be disrespect for Turkey, a NATO ally, and Turkey’s dispute with its allies can be resolved through dialogue and cooperation.
Turkish President Erdoğan: We have deep-rooted political and economic relations with the United States and the European Union, which neither side can ignore or risk losing. Any problem can be solved through dialogue and cooperation.
Reuters reported that U.S. President Trump had approved sanctions against the Turkish Defense Industry Agency and its director Ismail Demir, according to three U.S. officials and five people familiar with the matter. As soon as the report was reported, the Turkish lira fell 1.4% against the US dollar.
Turkey and the United States are both members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Russia delivered the S-400 anti-aircraft system to Turkey last year.
Turkey said that this Russian-made weapon will not be integrated with the NATO system and will not threaten the security of allies, and hopes to set up a joint working group with the United States to resolve the dispute.
The United States determined that the S-400 would pose a threat to NATO military aircraft, especially F-35 stealth fighters, and kicked Turkey out of the F-35 joint research and development project last year.
A senior Turkish official said that sanctions would only be counterproductive and damage the relationship between the two NATO allies. Reuters analysis said that the United States sanctions against Turkey are intended to warn other allies that partner countries around the world not buy Russian military equipment, otherwise they will be treated the same.
Sanctions on Turkey, Trump leaves a “baggage” for Biden
U.S. President Trump has long opposed sanctions against Turkey. But as the U.S. Senate is about to vote on the remainder of the Defense Authorization Act, one of its provisions requires the federal government to impose sanctions on Turkey within 30 days.
That said, sanctions are inevitable even if Trump doesn’t take action.
Some U.S. officials said that one of the motivations for Trump’s ultimate willingness to approve the sanctions is to “decouple” the sanctions from the Defense Authorization Act to avoid creating the impression that he is constrained by others, which also adds pressure on President-elect Biden to improve U.S.-Turkish relations after taking office.
The Associated Press said that Biden sought to re-consolidate the alliance between the United States, but improving the relationship between the United States and Turkey was not easy.