US Senators Call for Sanctions on Turkey After Russian S-400 Test

The top majority and minority leaders of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee have called on the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Turkey following the country’s testing Friday of its Russian-built S-400 air defense system.

Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) said that the test firing “is unacceptable behavior from a (NATO) ally” that put Turkey “beyond the pale” and called for sanctions:

The Committee’s minority leader Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) also condemned Turkey’s action, saying that it is not deterred by the Trump Administration’s “meek pleas.” He called for “immediate” sanctions.

“Today’s test by Turkey of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system is a stark reminder that Ankara is not deterred by simple meek pleas coming from the Trump administration. Erdogan only responds to actions, not words. In July 2019, Turkey took delivery of the S-400 in clear violation of U.S. sanctions mandated by the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions law. The Trump Administration has ignored the law, weakening our hand against Putin. It has also has emboldened Erdogan, leading to today’s test.

“President Trump’s failure to follow the law and his affinity for Recep Tayyip Erdogan pose a serious threat to our national security and that of our NATO allies and partners in Europe. The CAATSA mandate is clear and the administration must follow the law – Turkey must be sanctioned immediately for its purchase and use of this system.”

American and NATO officials had repeatedly stated that Turkish use of the Russian system by a NATO member would compromise the defense system of the military alliance.

Last year, unable to convince Turkey not to purchase the Russian system, the US suspended Turkey from taking part in its state of the art F-35 aircraft program.