On June 18, the US Senate adopted the National Defense Authorization Act [a military budget] for fiscal year 2019. The act obliged the US Defense Secretary to present a special report on a Turkish-Russian deal on delivery of S-400 air defense systems to Ankara.
According to the document, not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of the Authorization Act, “the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the status of the United States relationship with the Republic of Turkey.”
The report has to include “an assessment of the potential purchase by the Government of Turkey of the S-400 air and missile defense system from the Russian Federation and the potential effects of such purchase on the United States-Turkey bilateral relationship, including an assessment of impacts on other United States weapon systems and platforms operated jointly with Turkey to include the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike aircraft; the Patriot surface-to-air missile system; the CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopter; the AH-1 Attack helicopter; the H-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter; and the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft.”
The National Defense Authorization Act says that the Defense Secretary is not allowed to take any action “to execute delivery of a foreign military sale for major defense equipment subject to congressional notification to the Republic of Turkey until the Secretary submits to the appropriate congressional committees the report.”
On June 19, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu commented on this sutuation by saying that his country will purchase the S-400 defense systems despite this situation.
“What laws will you [the United States] apply to impose sanctions on the purchase of the S-400? This is a wrong approach; it will lead to a crisis. We have purchased the S-400 and let’s stop talking about this,” Cavusoglu told NTV channel. “This is an unfortunate development. But Turkey will not be left without an alternative. We regret such actions taken by the US Senate; they contradict the spirit of strategic partnership.”
He also slammed Washington for “creating artificial crises is the West’s style.”
The delivery of F-35 fighter jets is one of the key issues impacted by the National Defense Authorization Act. On May 25, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said that Turkey country could take measures against the US if the US refuses to supply F-35 jets to his country.