The head of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jim Risch, said the United States would impose sanctions on Ankara if Turkey did not abandon the Russian S-400 air defense systems. The corresponding statement is published on the website of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

When Erdogan walked into the meeting on Wednesday, he thought he was going to make an acceptable case for keeping Russian weapons systems. We brought him to reality in no uncertain terms.

- Jim Risch (@SenatorRisch) November 15, 2019

The statement notes that during the recent visit of Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the United States, senators met with the Turkish leader. According to the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the senators pointed out to Erdogan that Washington is extremely negative about Ankara’s idea to save the S-400.

The senator also promised to prevent the fifth-generation F-35 aircraft from being sent to Turkey.

  • Jim rish
  • Reuters
  • © Yuri Gripas

Turkey can’t see the supplies of F-35, while in its country, under Turkish control, there are S-400 complexes. In addition, if he firmly believes that they should stay, then I will continue to push for the adoption of a law on sanctions against Turkey. This is his (Erdogan . - RT ) choice, and the consequences are known to him, ”the head of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee emphasized.

“Trying to get rid of competitors”

A contract for the supply of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems to Turkey became known in September 2017. The transaction value amounted to $ 2.5 billion. The first deliveries began in July of this year.

Over the past two years, the US leadership has repeatedly and at various levels announced the possibility of imposing sanctions against Turkey in response to the purchase of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems. In particular, the Pentagon claimed that Ankara could be excluded from the F-35 aircraft construction program.

On October 9, Senators Chris Van Hollen (Democrat) and Lindsey Graham (Republican) called for Turkey to recognize the purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems as a significant violation of the American Anti-America Enemy Law through Sanctions (CAATSA).

On October 29, the lower house of the US Congress voted in favor of a bill that would impose sanctions against Ankara because of Operation Source of the World and the purchase of air defense systems from Russia.

As Viktor Nadein-Raevsky, senior researcher at IMEMO RAS, noted in an interview with RT, the question of supplying the S-400 to Turkey for the United States goes beyond the scope of US-Turkish relations. In Washington, he is perceived in the context of relations with NATO allies as a whole.

“For the United States, it is a priority that most of the weapons that NATO is armed with are acquired in the United States. This is a lot of money, a lot of income for the Americans, and naturally they are trying to get rid of their competitors, ”said Nadein-Raevsky.

It is worth noting that at present the senior brother of the S-400 air defense system - S-300 - is in service with a number of NATO countries, including Turkey’s closest neighbor. In September, Dmitry Shugaev, director of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS), noted that Moscow was ready to take on the modernization of the Greek S-300.

Looking for a way out

Recall that on November 13, following a meeting with the President of Turkey, Donald Trump told the press that Washington and Ankara are trying to find a way out of the situation with the S-400 air defense systems previously purchased by Turkey.

“I hope we can find a way out of this situation. We turned to our Secretary of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Turkey. - RT ), as well as to our respective national security advisers with a request to immediately begin work on resolving the issue of S-400, ”the head of the White House emphasized then.

  • Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump
  • Reuters
  • © Tom Brenner

He also noted that he had agreed with Erdogan to work on a new trade agreement worth $ 100 billion.

In turn, the Turkish leader, returning to his homeland, said that Trump's position on the S-400 and F-35 has become much more positive. However, Erdogan emphasized that Ankara does not intend to abandon the S-400, even if it starts buying American Patriot air defense systems from the United States.

Earlier, the newspaper The Washington Post, citing anonymous representatives of the Trump administration, reported that the US president intended to offer his Turkish counterpart a package of measures aimed at improving US-Turkish relations. It is alleged that among them, in particular, was a trade deal worth $ 100 billion and the opportunity to circumvent US sanctions related to the purchase of S-400 systems.

It is interesting that as early as Thursday, November 14, as noted by the American and Turkish media, Senator Jim Rish announced the need to put the consideration of the bill on sanctions against Turkey “on pause” if Ankara abandons the S-400. However, the Turkish leader made the exact opposite statement.

As an expert of the International Institute for Humanitarian and Political Research Vladimir Bruter noted in an interview with RT, it is possible that the promise of a $ 100 billion deal was not enough argument for Ankara to bring its position closer to the American one.

“Congress looks more consistent and decisive than the president, as, for example, in the issue of anti-Russian sanctions,” the expert says. “If the S-400 is not removed from the arsenal of Turkey, then sanctions in one form or another will be imposed.”

However, as Bruter emphasizes, after the start of Operation Source of Peace, Washington already introduced restrictive measures against Ankara, which it canceled a week later. It is likely that the new sanctions will also be mostly symbolic, he said.

On November 1, Director General of Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheev, announced that Russia had completed early deliveries of all components of the S-400 air defense system to Turkey. A day earlier, the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Turkey, Hulusi Akar, noted that the work on the deployment of Russian complexes will continue until the spring of 2020. Ankara plans to put into service a regiment set (two divisions) of Russian air defense systems.

  • S-400 unloading in Turkey
  • © Turkish Military / Turkish Defense Ministry / Handout via REUTERS

On November 16, the head of the Turkish defense industry secretariat, Ismail Demir, confirmed that Ankara intends to use the S-400, despite the threat of sanctions coming from the United States.

A day earlier, Ankara intends to activate its S-400 and was reported by the press secretary of the Turkish leader Ibrahim Kalyn.

Previous US statements about the possibility of imposing sanctions against Turkey over the S-400 have always met with angry criticism from Ankara. Back in July, after the deliveries of Russian complexes to Turkey began, the Foreign Minister of that country, Mevlut Cavusoglu, warned the United States that Ankara was ready for “retaliatory measures” in the event of hostile actions on the part of Washington.

In turn, Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted in November that due to the freezing of supplies of F-35 to Turkey, the country will accelerate the creation of its own fighters and consider alternatives to the American aircraft. According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, Turkey showed a "genuine interest" in the purchase of Russian Su-35 and Su-57 fighters.

“Ankara would not want to lose the invested funds,” said Victor Nadein-Raevsky. - For the Turks, this will be a direct and rather serious loss, not to mention the fact that this will certainly lead to a deterioration in relations with Russia. And the Turks understand: if now they yield to the Americans, then further demands will be even more shameless. ” At the same time, according to the expert, “Turkey is not going to leave NATO.”

Vladimir Bruter considers it unlikely that Ankara, under US pressure, will abandon the already purchased S-400s.

“I do not think that Erdogan is even considering such an option,” the expert says. - The Turkish president is an ambitious person and has long understood that the main thing that cannot be done in relation to Western countries is to show his weakness. Even if he hints at such a weakness, he will become a man whose opinion the West will cease to interest. ”

According to political scientists, Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 has already seriously affected the general deterioration of US-Turkish relations. However, while both sides are demonstrating unpreparedness for a “final break” within NATO, Bruter emphasized.