Little chance of U.S. sanctions on Turkey over S-400 purchase, says Turkish official 

An anonymous Turkish official said on Wednesday she did not expect U.S. President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Turkey over purchase o Russian S-400 missile systems, Reuters reported.

The two NATO allies have been in a row over the S-400 purchase for months, with Washington arguing that the Russian systems are both incompatible with and pose a security threat to NATO defence systems.

U.S. President Donald Trump halted the delivery of 100 F-35 stealth fighter jets ordered by Turkey after Russia started transferring S-400 components to the country in July. The United States also suspended Turkey’s participation in the F-35 joint manufacturing programme.

Turkey risks further sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, which aims to deter third parties from defence partnership with Russia. There is bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress to take further punitive measures against Turkey. 

Trump expressed sympathy for Turkey’s position when he met Erdoğan at a G20 summit in June, saying Ankara had bought the S-400s from Moscow because the previous U.S. administration would not sell it the U.S. Patriot system. 

After the S-400 shipments began in July, U.S. President Donald Trump asked the Senate for “flexibility” on dealing with Turkey and is believed to oppose sanctions.

“He understood the whole history behind how we got to purchasing the S-400s,” the Turkish official told Reuters in Washington.

“My expectation is it (sanctions) would not be implemented,” she said.

Despite the dispute between the two countries and the risk of sanctions, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross last week held meetings with Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan and various representatives of Turkish private sector to boost bilateral trade agreements. Ross said the U.S. President encouraged him to come to Turkey.

“You make a commitment like that and then you talk about implementing sanctions, that’s a big contradiction in itself,” the Turkish official said.