On June 26, the US State Department once again announced that Turkey would be targeted by sanctions if it receives S-400 air defense systems from Russia under a contract signed by Ankara and Moscow earlier.
The State Department recalled that this decision is a result of the bill President Donald Trump signed into law last summer, which seeks to punish companies that do business with the Russian defense industry.
“We made it clear that if Turkey buys S-400s… there will be consequences. We will introduce sanctions within Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA),” Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell said at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“We believe that we have existing legal authorities that would allow us to withhold transfer under certain circumstances, including national security concerns,” he said. “We believe that we continue to have the time and ability to ensure Turkey does not move forward on S-400 before having to take a decision on – on F-35. We’re being very clear in our messaging to the Turks that there will be consequences.”
The imposed sanctions would also block deliveries of the F-35 stealth fighter jets to Turkey under a contract between Ankara and Washington. Turkey formally received a first F-35 jet on June 21. However, the jet remained in the US. According to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, no F-35 jets will arrive Turkey until 2020.
Thus, the US has lots of time to block the F-35 contract punishing Turkey for the decision to buy S-400 systems.
Turkish President Recep Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said on April 3 that they had agreed to expedite the delivery of S-400 systems. The delivery would start in late 2019 and early 2020.