Turkey indifferent as U.S. mulls sanctions - paper

Turkey is will not face direct sanctions from the United States in relation to its purchase of a Russian air defence system, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Fikri Işık was quoted as saying in an editorial published in Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper on Monday.

Turkey signed a deal to buy S-400 missiles from Russia in December, despite concerns over interoperability with Turkey’s existing NATO military hardware and the threat of U.S. sanctions.

The United States has called on Turkey to reconsider its decision to purchase the system, while a bill signed by U.S. President Donald Trump IN late January allows the United States to sanction and cut off arms sales to countries that do business with banned Russian firms, which include those involved in producing the S-400 system.

Turkish officials say the S-400 deal was only struck after efforts to buy an equivalent system from NATO allies were unsuccessful and have ruled out the possibility of direct sanctions against Turkey. "When the U.S. includes the company selling the S-400 system within the scope of sanctions, there is a possibility that Turkey might indirectly affected by this.” said Işık “However, they cannot impose a direct sanction against Turkey." Analysts have warned that the risk of U.S. sanctions relating to the deal is real. U.S. deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs Heidi Grant also warned in November that Turkey’s purchase of the Russian missiles could have consequences for its involvement in the manufacture of F-35 stealth fighter plane fuselages and servicing of the aircraft.