The Trump administration’s decision to sanction NATO ally Turkey over the purchase of a Russian missile system has drawn swift Turkish condemnation. For now, however, Ankara appears to be holding off on any retaliation, a move analysts suggest is a sign that Turkey is already looking ahead to the new administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.
“We are strong in the field and at the table,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu Tuesday in response to the sanctions.
“We condemn this decision and call on the U.S. to step back from this mistake as soon as possible,” Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.
Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system in 2017 triggered Trump’s sanctions, as it violated the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA. Along with Turkey’s other NATO partners, the United States says the S-400 compromises NATO’s defense systems, an accusation Ankara denies. It has been reported that the S-400 is capable of shooting down aircraft such as the F-35, the U.S.’s latest fighter jet.
Turkey has already paid a heavy price for purchasing the Russian missiles. It is now barred from buying and building the F-35. Turkey began taking possession of parts of the S-400 in 2019.
The latest sanctions primarily target Turkey’s military procurement agency, banning U.S. export licenses and loan credits. Several senior individuals working at the agency have also been targeted.
Under the CAATSA legislation, however, the sanctions are seen as among the less punitive.