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Apr 12 2019

New legislation reflects U.S. lawmakers' growing frustration with Erdoğan – analysis

A bill introduced on Tuesday that requires the U.S. administration to impose sanctions on senior Turkish officials responsible for the arbitrary detention of U.S. citizens could pave the way for more sanctions on Turkey, analysts Aykan Erdemir and Merve Tahiroğlu have said.

Two U.S. senators on Apr. 10 introduced a bill urging President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Turkish bureaucrats who have links to the detentions of U.S. citizens and consular staff.

"The bill could fortify and expand U.S. sanctions already in place due to Turkey’s arbitrary incarceration of U.S. nationals and employees," Erdemir and Tahiroğlu said in a piece published on the Foundation for Defence of Democracies (FDD) website on Thursday.

Ankara has received sanctions warnings, particularly after an upsurge in tensions over Turkey’s planned acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defence systems. U.S. and NATO officials fear the presence of a Russian system on a NATO member’s soil could allow Moscow to access sensitive data on NATO defence systems.

"The purchase could directly trigger U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which prohibits companies from dealing with Russia’s defense sector," the analysts said.

Meanwhile, there are other bills that attempt to bar the transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey or completely drop Turkey from the F-35 program.

"The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act and Consolidated Appropriations Act together bar the use of Defense and State Department funds for the delivery of U.S.-made F-35 jets to Turkey until Ankara walks away from the S-400 deal."

Another bill introduced on Apr. 10, the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Partnership Act of 2019, urges the United States to block transfer of F-35 jets to Turkey until it cancels S-400 purchase, according to the analysts.