Trump administration fighting Turkey sanctions bill - Daily Beast

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is fighting a bill that would punish Turkey for buying theRussian S-400 missiles, arguing that the sanctions would only push Ankara and Moscow closer together, the Daily Beast reported on Monday.

The State Department shared the administration’s opposition to sanctions on Turkey in a seven-page memo sent to the Senate, it said citing the document it obtained.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Dec. 11 passed a bill requiring the U.S. president to sanction Turkey for buying the S-400 and would bar the U.S. from selling Turkey F-16 or F-35 fighter jets, including parts, until the country has fully abandoned the Russian system.

Trump has been holding off imposing congressionally mandated sanctions, which require U.S. President to impose five or more out of 12 possible sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATS) no later than 30 days after the bill is enacted. 

Trump’s foot-dragging is enraging members of Congress across the political spectrum.

The Trump administration’s opposition to the bill is useful for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Aykan Erdemir of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told the Daily Beast. 

 “This would definitely encourage Erdoğan to continue his transgressions,” according to Erdemir. 

Aaron Stein of the Foreign Policy Research Institute maintains the seven-page document sheds new light on the Trump administration’s opposition to the Hill’s sanctions.

“It’s in far more detail than we’ve ever gotten,” Stein told the Daily Beast. “They are legitimate criticisms of the bill, but the bill is probably going to happen because Donald Trump won’t take the deal. The art of the deal, the master of the deal is an effing moron. The thing to do is impose CAATSA and make this go away. It’s just that simple”. 

 The document details a host of problems with the legislation including the effective termination U.S.-Turkey defence trade, which would in turn increase Ankara’s reliance on Moscow or “other adversary arms providers” for weapons, it said.

The bill is also problematic in that it would “treat Turkey as a pariah in NATO, feeding a narrative that the Russian Federation would likely seek to amplify and exploit,” the document says. 

The provision of the bill would also help Kurdish allies come to the U.S. as refugees more quickly, the document said, in addition to raising concerns about giving Kurds access to Special Immigrant Visas.

Overall, the document reflects the Trump administration’s accommodative attitude toward Ankara, the Daily Beast said.

The Erdoğan government is betting on Trump, Stein said, a wager that is“ paying off in the short term”.

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