A bill on sanctions against Turkey for the purchase of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems from the Russian Federation has been submitted to the US Congress. The authors of the document were Republicans Adam Kinsinger and Michael McCall, as well as Democrat Abigail Spanberger.
According to Kinzinger, the United States should make Turkey understand that its actions will have consequences.
“Turkey continues to make dubious decisions that do not reflect the leadership qualities of a NATO member country. A year ago, Turkey ignored warnings from members of the alliance about this deal with Russia and adopted the Russian S-400 system, ”the congressman said in a statement on his website.
Democratic Senator Abigail Spanberger said Turkey’s actions are incompatible with the security of the United States and its allies. According to the politician, Ankara should be held accountable for cooperation with Russia.
- © REUTERS / Tom Brenner
In addition, Spanberger said Turkey acquired the S-400 at a time when “the Kremlin is ordering its defense departments and intelligence agencies to pursue an aggressive policy and destabilize the situation in democratic countries around the world.”
Based on the text of the document, if adopted, Turkey will be subject to the CAATSA Act on Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions.
Recall that the CAATSA law was a response to the alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election. This document allows Washington to freeze assets and prohibit US financial institutions from cooperating with states entering into major arms deals with Moscow.
Speaking about the behavior of the American side in the situation with the purchase of S-400 by Turkey, member of the Federation Council Olga Kovitidi noted that such decisions only increase tension.
“The US is using proven political and economic instruments. The introduction of a bill on sanctions against Turkey to the US Congress is a recognition of the limited nature of certain strategic positions. With such decisions, Washington shows growing concern, ”the senator said in an interview with RT.
Note that in December 2019, the US Senate International Committee approved a bill that provides for the imposition of sanctions against Turkey for the purchase of Russian S-400s. Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned this step by the American side. The statement of the Foreign Ministry said that these actions are a new manifestation of disrespect for the sovereign decisions of Turkey regarding its national security.
Later, the head of state, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, spoke on the issue of sanctions due to the purchase of S-400 systems by Turkey. He said that Ankara could close Incirlik and Kureggik bases for US troops if Washington imposed sanctions.
According to Erdogan, for both countries “it is very important that the United States does not take steps that will be impossible to correct” in bilateral relations. The president added that "Turkey will give an answer to any US sanctions."
Moscow and Ankara signed a contract for the supply of S-400 systems in 2017, and the first systems were made available to the customer at the end of 2019. It was expected that the air defense systems will begin work in Turkey in April 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deployment of systems was postponed.
For several years, the United States has been actively criticizing Turkey’s decision to acquire the S-400 system from Russia. Washington argued that Turkey’s use of Russian-designed systems threatens Washington-Ankara’s cooperation in weapons programs. One of the consequences of Turkey’s decision to buy the S-400 was the exclusion of the Turkish side from the F-35 fighter supply program.
Later, a number of Turkish media reported that Ankara was considering the purchase of Russian Su-35 fighters, but the Turkish defense department then denied this information. However, at the end of 2019, the head of the secretariat of the defense industry under the administration of the President of Turkey, Ismail Demir, said that the Turkish side was studying the proposal of Russia on the Su-35.
We add that later in the US Senate it was proposed to buy S-400 air defense systems from Turkey, but this possibility was excluded in the Russian Foreign Ministry. Ankara, in turn, promised to ensure the security of data on Russian anti-aircraft missile systems.
Director of the Center for Military-Political Studies of MGIMO, Alexey Podberezkin, believes that the new US initiative will not affect Turkey in any way.
“These threats are no longer new. You need to understand that the purchase of S-400 is not a purchase of a pair of shoes in a store, it is a huge complex, quite expensive. The terms of his service are spoken out, training, and the Turkish military personnel went through the whole process of training, preparation ... That is, a lot of expensive work was done and simply abandoning it would be, to put it mildly, wrong, frivolous, ”the expert said in an interview with RT.
He drew attention to the risks for the United States associated with the military base mentioned by Erdogan. According to Podberyozkin, this location is of great importance for Washington, and the readiness of the Turkish leadership to review its status indicates the possibility of a response from the Turkish side to sanctions.
Incirlik and Kureggik
Incirlik military base, located in eastern Turkey, was originally built for the needs of the US military. The United States used its infrastructure for campaigns in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Syria.
Kureggik Radio Detection Station is located southeast of Incirlik. It is part of the NATO missile defense structure. The early warning radar is owned by the United States and is used by the U.S. military.
In 1975, Turkey already restricted access to Incirlik to the US military. This was Ankara’s response to the embargo that Washington imposed on arms supplies to Turkey. Then the base was used only for NATO purposes, the remaining operations were suspended. The embargo was removed in 1978.