[UPDATE] Trump signs defense bill calling for sanctions on Turkey over S400 purchase

0
PHOTO: Filip Bunkens (Unsplash)

US President Donald Trump on Friday signed a $738 billion defense bill calling for sanctions against Turkey over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system.

US Senators on Tuesday voted 86-8 to approve the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), The Hill said.

The legislation, which cleared the House last week and authorizes spending and lays out policy guidelines for the Pentagon, also prohibits the transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey and gives the Pentagon up to $30 million to buy and store F-35s meant for the country.

Turkey began to take delivery of the Russian S-400s in July, prompting Washington to suspend it from the F-35 fighter jet program, halt its order of 100 of the new-generation jets and begin procedures to sanction the country under 2017 legislation designed to discourage countries from arms deals with Russia.

US officials say the presence of the Russian system in NATO-allied territory could leave the jets open to subterfuge. Ankara denies this and says the purchase was necessary since a deal to buy Patriot systems from the United States fell through.

The bill also targets pipe-laying vessels for Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream, a Russia-Turkey pipeline, and includes asset freezes and revocation of US visas for the contractors.

The TurkStream pipeline linking Russia and Turkey to Europe via the Black Sea is nearly complete and expected to soon go online.

The legislation furthermore attempts to lift the US arms embargo on the divided island of Cyprus in favor of the Greek Cypriot administration.

The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 into a predominantly Greek Cypriot south, whose government is internationally recognized, and the Turkish Cypriot north, whose sovereignty is only recognized by Ankara.

The Turkish Defense Ministry in a statement it issued on Tuesday condemned the bill, saying it once again contained hostile elements toward Turkey.

“We would like to once again remind that the language of threat and sanctions will not deter Turkey from taking the necessary steps to ensure its national security,” the T24 news website quoted the ministry as saying.

Liked it? Take a second to support Turkish Minute on Patreon!

LEAVE A REPLY