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US Hits Turkey with Sanctions Over Russian S-400 Missile System

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S-400 Missiles. Credit: Соколрус , CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

The US Department of State has imposed sanctions against a Turkish defense agency and four of its officials in response to Ankara’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system, according to an announcement on Monday.

The sanctions, which will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, are being brought against the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), a government agency tasked with managing military technology and Turkey’s defense industry.

“The Secretary of State (Antony Blinken) has… selected certain sanctions to be imposed upon SSB and Ismail Demir, SSB’s president; Faruk Yigit, SSB’s vice president; Serhat Gencoglu, SSB’s head of the Department of Air Defense and Space; and Mustafa Alper Deniz, Program Manager for SSB’s Regional Air Defense Systems Directorate, pursuant to CAATSA,” the Department of State notice said.

According to the notice, the SSB “has knowingly engaged in a significant transaction with a person that is part of, or operates for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation.”

The US says Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system is incompatible with NATO technology and poses a threat to the Euro-Atlantic alliance.

The US had already kicked Turkey out of its F-35 fighter jet program over the purchase of the Russian-made missile system.

In a pervious statement earlier this year, the State Department said that “Russian S-400s are incompatible with NATO equipment, threaten the security of NATO technology, and are inconsistent with Turkey’s commitments as a NATO Ally. This significant transaction from Russia triggered CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) sanctions under US legislation.”

Turkey: S-400s are a done deal

In March 2021, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to abandon Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, at a meeting in Brussels.

However, Cavusoglu replied that Ankara’s purchase of a Russian missile-defense system was “a done deal”.

“On the S-400s, we reminded them once again why Turkey had to buy them and repeated that Turkey had bought them and this is a done deal,” Cavusoglu told reporters in Brussels, where the two officials met on the sidelines of a NATO meeting.

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