President Donald Trump said on Thursday he’s not looking at economic sanctions against Turkey “right now” following its decision to begin receiving parts of the Russian S-400 missile-defense system.
“No, we’re not looking at that right now,” Trump told reporters Thursday at the White House.
“It’s a very, very difficult situation for a lot of reasons… So, we’re looking at it. We’ll see what we do. We haven’t announced that yet,” he stated.
President Trump’s remarks came a day after his administration said it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, a move that had been long threatened and expected after Ankara began accepting delivery of Russia’s S-400 air defense system.
The White House said on Wednesday that Turkey’s decision to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system “renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible.”
“The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence-collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” the White House statement said, referring to the S-400 air defense system as a means for Russia to probe US capabilities.
The White House, however, sought to downplay the effects of the decision on the US relationship with Turkey, saying that Washington still “greatly values” its strategic relationship with Ankara.