First parts of a Russian S-400 missile defense system are unloaded from a Russian plane at Murted Airport, known as Akinci Air Base, near Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019. Turkish Military/Turkish Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS First parts of a Russian S-400 missile defense system are unloaded from a Russian plane at Murted Airport, known as Akinci Air Base, near Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019. Turkish Military/Turkish Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

US lawmakers urge sanctions on Turkey for purchasing Russian missiles

Fri, Jul. 19, 2019
CAIRO – 19 July 2019: U.S. lawmakers have urged President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

The lawmakers affirmed that President Trump should follow a law mandating penalties for doing business with Russia’s military.

A resolution was introduced on imposing sanctions after Ankara began accepting delivery of an advanced Russian missile defense system last week.

The resolution, submitted by Republican Senators Rick Scott and Todd Young, prompted the White House to announce it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program.

Separately, Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said removing Turkey from the jet program was not enough.

But Trump’s administration has stopped short of imposing sanctions on Turkey, despite the sweeping 2017 sanctions law, known as CAATSA.

If approved, the resolution from Scott and Young would call for “full implementation of sanctions under CAATSA,” describing Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 air and missile defence system as a “direct and dire threat” to U.S. security interests.

CAATSA mandates that the president choose five among a range of 12 sanctions, from banning visas and denying access to the U.S.-based Export-Import Bank to harsher options such as barring transactions with the U.S. financial system and denying export licenses.

However, CAATSA does not set any timeline for imposing sanctions or issuing a waiver, so Trump could delay indefinitely.

The resolution calls for the administration to convene talks at NATO to discuss threats posed by Russia and mull Turkey’s continued inclusion in NATO.

While the non-binding resolution would have no force of law, passage of such a measure in the Republican-controlled Senate could amp up pressure on Trump to crack down on Ankara.

Menendez said he would introduce legislation that would force the administration to sanction Turkey if Trump refuses to do so under CAATSA.

 
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