U.S. sanctions may extend to Turkish defence firms beyond F-35 suppliers - Pentagon official

The United States is looking to impose financial sanctions on Turkish firms beyond those that build parts for the F-35 fighter jet over Ankara’s plans to buy the Russian S-400 air defence system, Reuters agency quoted a top Pentagon official as saying on Monday.

Washington is preparing to impose measures against Ankara, including sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and expulsion from the F-35 fighter jet programme over its planned S-400 purchase. 

The two Nato allies have been in a row over the S-400 for months, with Washington arguing that the Russian systems are both incompatible with NATO defence systems and pose a security threat.
U.S. officials have urged Ankara to drop its plans to buy the Russian-built S-400 systems so its companies can continue to build critical parts for a wide range of other U.S. weapons systems beside the F-35 fighter jet.

An inter-agency U.S. governmental group was looking at potential sanctions against a wider range of Turkish firms under CAATSA, Chief arms buyer Ellen Lord said during the Paris Airshow on Monday.

“We have bifurcated the S-400 and F-35 impact from (the) impact to the rest of our defence and commercial industry,” Reuters quoted Lord as saying. “Everything outside of the F-35 from a defence perspective, we have reviewed within the department and that would be subject to any CAATSA sanctions.”

While no decisions had been made, Lord said, a decision to proceed with sanctions would hit Turkish industry hard.

Turkey has remained firm in its decision to purchase the S-400, which it says will meet its defence needs and poses no threats to the Lockheed Martin F-35.

Turkey’s full expulsion from the F-35 programme would mean cancellation of the delivery fighter jets ordered by Ankara in addition to its removal from the lucrative F-35 production.