The U.S. cannot sanction Turkey - Turkish deputy PM

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Fikri Işık said that the United States could not sanction Turkey directly as a consequence of the pending Russian S-400 defence system purchase.

The United States might choose to sanction the company producing the S-400 systems rather than directly sanctioning the Turkish purchase of the missile defence system, Işık was quoted by a Dunya newspaper as saying during a live interview on CNN Turk television station.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that even a U.S. decision to sanction the producer of the defence system is unlikely to change Turkey's decision to proceed with the trade.

The Turkish government last year signed a $2.5 billion deal with Russia to buy S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries. The move was interpreted as a Turkish effort to boost the country's defence capabilities against Kurdish and Islamist militants both at home and across its borders in Syria and Iraq. The agreement caused tension among NATO member countries since as part of NATO’s collective defence pledge, the allied nations integrate their military systems.

Following a question about the İncirlik Air Base, located in the southeastern province of Adana, Turkey, Işık criticised U.S. policies in the Middle East and claimed that "if Turkey's medium and long-term interests" pointed in that direction, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government would not hesitate to re-evaluate the status of the U.S. airbase.