U.S. Senate armed services committee chair says looking forward to Turkey sanctions

Jim Inhofe, the chairman of the U.S. Senate’s armed services committee said on Wednesday that he looked forward to the U.S. administration imposing sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems.

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

Turkey risks further sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA. There is bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress to take further punitive measures against Turkey. 

Inhofe said on Twitter that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan knew the consequences of his decision to purchase S-400s from Moscow. 

“@RealDonaldTrump made the right decision to remove Turkey from F-35 program, and I look forward to the next steps on CAATSA sanctions,” he said. 

Inhofe also shared an April commentary from the New York Times he penned with senators Jack Reed, Jim Risch and Bob Menendez.

“By the end of the year, Turkey will have either F-35 advanced fighter aircraft on its soil or a Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defence system. It will not have both,” the senators said in the op-ed.

About the possible sanctions, the column said,

"If President Erdogan fails to make this choice and accepts delivery of the S-400, sanctions will be imposed as required by United States law under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. Sanctions will hit Turkey’s economy hard — rattling international markets, scaring away foreign direct investment and crippling Turkey’s aerospace and defense industry."

Trump said last week that he did not blame Turkey for buying Russian-made missile systems, accusing the previous U.S. administration of pushing Turkey to buy Russian systems by declining to sell Patriot batteries.

Senator Lindsey Graham told the Defense One publication last week that he was mediating between Washington and Ankara. Graham said he told Ankara that there would be no sanctions if S-400 systems were not activated.