Trump Administration to Impose Sanctions on Turkey for Purchasing and Testing Russian-Made Missile Defense System

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin after talks in Moscow in March. (Pavel Golovkin/Pool/Reuters)

The Trump administration plans to impose long-awaited sanctions on Turkey in the coming days for purchasing and testing a Russian-made missile defense system, according to two officials familiar with the measures.

The expected announcement, first reported by Reuters, comes as Congress is poised to pass a sweeping defense bill requiring President Trump to impose sanctions on Turkey for purchasing the S-400 missile system over the objections of its NATO allies.

The defense bill orders the administration to take steps against Turkey within 30 days using at least five categories of sanctions that Congress approved under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, better known as CAATSA. Lawmakers in both parties have argued that the law, passed in 2017 to limit countries and individuals from cooperating with defense, energy and other sectors of Russia, Iran and North Korea, ought to be applied against Turkey and the Turkish officials responsible for last year’s purchase of the S-400 system.

Trump has threatened to veto the defense legislation on other grounds, but Congress is expected to muster the votes to override him.

Last year, the White House removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter program over concerns that Ankara’s decision to enter a missile defense relationship with Moscow would compromise the security of the program’s sensitive cutting-edge technology.

It is not yet clear when the administration will formally impose the measures.

According to Reuters, sanctions will be imposed on Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries and the agency’s head, Ismail Demir.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Ellen Nakashima and Karen DeYoung

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