Turkey hopes to resolve the ‘S-400 issue’ with the new US administration

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ANKARA, (BM) – Ankara expects that the new US administration will be ready to resolve Turkey’s acquisition of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) through dialogue. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusogly made that statement, BulgarianMilitary.com learned.

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Cavusoglu recalled at the Mediterranean Dialogues conference that “the situation with the S-400 arose during the previous administration [of US President Barack Obama],” reports TASS. The meeting had organized by the Italian Institute for Political Studies [ISPI] with the support of the Italian Foreign Ministry.

“Presidents of [Turkey and the United States, Tayyip] Erdogan and (Donald) Trump had a good and frank dialogue and discussed all the problems (…). We offered the United States to form a working group on the S-400 with the involvement of NATO. Still, they refused our proposal (…). We expect that this administration or the new administration will be ready to solve all problems through dialogue, without threatening sanctions,” the Foreign Minister stressed.

Earlier, Turkey predicted Democrat Joe Biden, recognized by the American media as the President of the United States, on the sanctions over the S-400. Before that, the press secretary of Turkey’s ruling party, Omer Celik, said that Ankara considers political bargaining with Washington to make the purchase of S-400 unacceptable.

Recall, at the end of October, the US State Department once again warned about the incompatibility of using the S-400 and Turkey’s obligations to NATO. In response, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that Ankara does not intend to abandon the S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems acquired from Russia.

Turkey expects sanctions from the US

A bill on sanctions against Turkey for the purchase of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems from the Russian Federation has been submitted to the US Congress in July this year as we reported. The authors of the document are Republicans Adam Kinzinger and Michael McCaul, as well as Democrat Abigail Spanberger.

According to Kinzinger, the United States should make Turkey understand that its actions will have consequences. “Turkey continues to make dubious decisions that do not reflect the leadership qualities of a NATO member country. A year ago, Turkey ignored warnings from alliance members about this deal with Russia and adopted Russian S-400 systems,” the congressman said in a statement on his website.

Democratic Senator Abigail Spanberger said Turkey’s actions are incompatible with the security of the United States and its allies. According to the politician, Ankara should be held accountable for cooperation with Russia. In addition, Spanberger said that Turkey acquired the S-400 at a time when “the Kremlin is ordering its defense and intelligence agencies to pursue aggressive policies and destabilize the situation in democratic countries around the world.”

Read more: Turkey: They Can Not Kick Us Out of the F-35 Program

As follows from the text of the document, if adopted, Turkey will be subject to the Law on Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions (CAATSA). Recall that the CAATSA law was a response to the alleged Russian interference in the US presidential elections. This document allows Washington to freeze assets and prohibit American financial institutions from cooperating with states that conclude major arms deals with Moscow.

Nevertheless, Turkey has begun negotiations to buy more S-400s

Negotiations between Russia and Turkey on the delivery of the second set of S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft systems are in an advanced stage, the Head of Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Dmitry Shugaev said back in July.

“Negotiations are underway, this is a laborious process that requires a certain amount of time. But given the current restrictions in connection with the pandemic, it is not very grateful to predict the terms of concluding this contract,” TASS quoted him as saying. Shugaev noted that at the moment the parties are awaiting the final decision of Turkey.

Russia and Turkey signed a multi-billion dollar contract for the supply of S-400 Triumph air defense systems in 2017. The deal provoked strong discontent from the United States. Washington threatened Ankara with sanctions, and then expelled her from the F-35 fighter program.

On April 30, an official representative of the Turkish leader, Ibrahim Kalyn, announced the suspension of the transaction for the supply of S-400 systems due to the coronavirus.

S-400 Triumph is an anti-aircraft missile system capable of destroying modern targets of an air attack, including ballistic missiles. The detection range is up to 600 km, the radius of the cover zone is 400 km.

‘It is Not Fair’ Donald Trump said

U.S. President Donald Trump said in July 2019 it is “not fair” to either Turkey or the United States that Washington cannot sell Ankara billions of dollars worth of F-35 fighter jets after it bought a Russian air defence system. Washington’s concern is that deploying the S-400 with the F-35 would allow Russia to gain too much inside information of the stealth system. Buying military equipment from Russia also leaves the NATO member liable to U.S. sanctions retribution under a 2017 law known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA.

“It’s a very tough situation that they’re in, and it’s a very tough situation that we’ve been placed in the United States … we’ll see what happens. But it’s not really fair,” Trump told reporters at a Cabinet meeting at the White House. “Because of the fact that you bought a Russian missile, we’re not allowed to sell them billions of dollars’ worth of aircraft. It’s not a fair situation,” Trump said, lamenting the jobs that would be lost. “I would say that [F-35 manufacturer] Lockheed is not exactly happy,” he said.

Read more: Russia and Turkey will start joint production of S-400 defense system and transfer of technologies

Mark Esper also commented the situation with Turkey: “You can either have the S-400 or you can have the F-35. You cannot have both.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump were reviewing “all of the options that are in the CAATSA legislation,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

“I think that we’ve been pretty clear … what the ramifications could be and I think that you saw those ramifications today [July 17, 2019 – ed.] when the president talked about the inability of Turkey now to have the F-35,” she said. “As it relates to which sanctions options will be chosen, we don’t preview those sanctions in advance.”

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