Chair of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Bob Menendez said in a statement on Thursday that Turkey’s possible further purchases of the Russian S-400 missile defense system would be “another clear violation of U.S. sanctions mandated by the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions law.”
“As Russia continues its brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine, Turkey has a responsibility and an opportunity to unequivocally demonstrate its commitment to NATO and to regional peace and security by fully rejecting any military cooperation with a war criminal like Vladimir Putin,” Sen. Menendez added.
Sen. Menendez’s clear warning
The reaction comes in the wake of a publication by Russian news agency TASS which claims that Turkey is preparing to sign a new agreement with Russia for the supply of S-400 missile systems.
“Between continued antagonistic violations of Greece’s airspace and the delaying of the accession process for Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership, I sincerely hope Turkey will change course and live up to its responsibilities to the defense alliance by being the constructive partner in the region we all hope it can be,” Menendez’s statement reads.
“The United States must be clear: Any expansion of Turkey’s ties to the Russian defense sector would be a grave mistake that would further endanger the security of our NATO allies and partners throughout Europe,” it adds.
Turkey’s 2017 deal for Russian missiles
Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the U.S. with no success, Ankara signed an initial supply contract in April 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400s.
U.S. officials at the time urged Turkey to buy U.S. Patriot missiles, arguing that the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge.
Turkey, however, emphasized the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Ankara received the first shipment of Russian S-400 missile defense system hardware in July 2019.
In April 2021, the US Department of State 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.
The initial defense deal between Russia and Turkey provided for the supply of a second batch of S-400, as well.