U.S. senators want Turkey sanctioned over Russia missile system

05 Décembre, 2019, 03:36 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • A Russian military police armored vehicles in the town of Kobani

"The time for patience has long expired", Graham and Van Hollen wrote in the letter. "It is time you applied the law", Van Hollen and Graham said in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Reuters reported on December 3. "Failure to do so is sending a bad signal to other countries that they can flout US laws without outcome", they said.

Last week, Turkey conducted radar testing for its newly-acquired Russian-made S-400 air defence systems, even as the United States urges Ankara to abandon the missile systems by "destroying, returning or somehow getting rid of them".

Infuriating many members of Congress, Turkey shrugged off the threat of US sanctions and began receiving its first S-400 deliveries in July. In response, Washington removed Turkey from the F-35 program.

Graham and Van Hollen introduced a bill in October that would sanction Turkish leaders, financial institutions and the country's energy sector in response to Turkey's invasion of northern Syria after President Donald Trump said he would withdraw USA troops from the region. It mandates financial penalties for countries that do business with Russia's military.

USA politicians' anger towards Turkey deepened after Ankara crossed into Syria for an offensive against Kurdish fighters who had helped U.S. forces combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) armed group.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected next week to consider an alternative Turkey sanctions bill, sponsored by the panel's Republican chairman, Jim Risch, and ranking Democrat, Bob Menendez.

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Normally ardent defenders of fellow-Republican Trump, Graham and some other party members have been harshly critical of the president's decision to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria, paving the way for the Turkish move against Kurdish fighters.

Trump hosted his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdogan, at the White House for a meeting last month that Trump described as "wonderful".

But there have been no signs that Erdogan has changed his plan to buy the Russian system.

Turkey's presidential administration has said that the date of purchase of more Russian S-400 missile systems is just a technicality, and believes that an agreement will happen in a short time, the RIA news agency reported on Monday.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.

Graham and Van Hollen also noted that the head of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboroexport said on Sunday that Moscow's cooperation with Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally but not a full member, will not be limited only to the S-400s and the two countries have bigger plans.

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