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Senator Menendez Warns Turkey on Purchase of More Russian Missiles

Menendez Warns Turkey
US Senator Bob Menendez speaking at a recent event in Athens, Greece. Credit: Senate Foreign Relations Committee

US Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned Turkey on Wednesday against purchasing a second batch of Russian S-400 missiles.

“I am deeply concerned about reports that Turkey is considering further purchases of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, a delivery that would be another clear violation of U.S. sanctions mandated by the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions law,” Menendez said in a statement.

Earlier in September, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is considering buying a second Russian missile system despite strong objections by the US.

“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,” Menendez said.

Menendez: Turkey’s ties to Russia endanger the security of NATO

“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,” it was said.

“The United States must be clear,” the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee warned. “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.”

In a recent interview with American broadcaster CBS News, Erdogan said Turkey would make decisions on its defense systems independently.

He explained that Turkey was not given the option to buy American-made Patriot missiles, and the US had not delivered F-35 stealth jets despite receiving a payment of $1.4 billion.

“In the future, nobody will be able to interfere in terms of what kind of defense systems we acquire, from which country at what level,” Erdogan said.

NATO member Turkey was kicked out of the F-35 program, and its defense officials were sanctioned after it bought the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system.

The US strongly objects to the use of Russian systems within NATO and says it poses a threat to the F-35s. Turkey maintains the S-400s can be used independently without being integrated into NATO systems and therefore pose no risk.

Last year, the US sanctioned Turkey for its purchase under a 2017 law aimed at pushing back Russian influence. The move was the first time the law, called the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), was used to penalize an American ally.

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