Pentagon silent on Turkey’s S-400 delivery as Congress demands immediate sanctions

As Turkey beamed out photographs of Russian S-400 air protection methods being delivered, US lawmakers demanded immediate sanctions towards Ankara, whereas the Pentagon and the State Department remained surprisingly silent.

House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Eliot Engel (D-New York) and rating member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) reacted to the delivery of the missiles by declaring that Turkey and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “must face stiff consequences.”

“President Erdogan was given a very clear choice. Unfortunately, he has clearly made the wrong one. That a NATO ally would choose to side with Russia and Vladimir Putin over the alliance and closer cooperation with the United States is hard to fathom,” the duo stated in an announcement on Friday. 

They demanded of the Trump administration to “terminate” Turkey’s participation within the F-35 stealth fighter program and “sanction Turkish individuals doing business with the Russian defense sector, as required by law.”

Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), handed in 2017 over President Donald Trump’s objections, the US has to penalize international locations that purchase weapons methods from Russia.

Their pleas appeared to fall on deaf ears on the Pentagon and the State Department, nonetheless. The Department of Defense solely confirmed that the topic of the S-400s got here up within the 30-minute dialog between Acting Secretary Mark Esper and his Turkish counterpart, however supplied no additional particulars. 

The Pentagon has not carried out on-camera briefings for some time, and the press corps obtained excited after they heard one was scheduled for Friday, anticipating it might deal with the problem. To their nice disappointment, nonetheless, it was “postponed indefinitely.”

Washington is taking Ankara’s “betrayal” particularly exhausting, since their anti-Soviet alliance predates even the founding of NATO. Following an tried navy coup in July 2016 – which Erdogan blamed on the cleric dwelling within the US underneath CIA safety – he started turning in direction of Russia, negotiating the acquisition of the S-400s and justifying it by the US withdrawal of Patriot missile batteries.

Ankara has responded to US threats to chop it off from the F-35 program by saying that it might go towards the phrases of the deal to fabricate the fifth-generation fighter. Turkey is a part of the multinational consortium growing and producing elements for the troubled Lockheed Martin jet, and was anticipated to purchase 100 of them. Dropping it from this system would possibly negatively influence manufacturing and additional enhance the price of the already overpriced warfare machine.

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