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US Defense Bill Orders Sanctions on Turkey Over Russian S-400s

Capitol Hill. Credit: Martin Falbisoner/ Wikimedia commons

The House and Senate Armed Services Committees reached consensus on the annual defense policy bill unveiled Thursday which, among other things, gives a mandate to the U.S. President to sanction Turkey for its acquisition of the Russian S-400 air missile defense system.

Though President Donald Trump has held off sanctioning Turkey for the purchase under the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, the defense bill would order that five or more sanctions under CAATSA be imposed within 30 days.

The sanctions include a ban on US banking and property transactions, the denial of US visas and forcing US lenders to deny loans to any sanctioned companies.

Defense News reports that the duty would fall to the Trump administration unless the bill is signed after next week. Otherwise it would fall to President-elect Joe Biden, who is due to be inaugurated Jan. 20.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was among lawmakers who hailed the inclusion of the language in the $740.5 billion, 4,517-page National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.

The legislation also includes a provision that would authorize the US Air Force Secretary to use the six Turkish F-35A aircraft that were never delivered to Ankara after Turkey was suspended from the F-35 program.

The bill, which is the product of weeks of negotiations to reconcile House and Senate versions, is expected to be taken up in both chambers next week.

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