The United States imposed long-anticipated sanctions on Turkey on Monday over Ankara’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 air defence systems. This further complicats the already strained ties between the two Nato allies.
Turkey condemned the sanctions as a “grave mistake” and urged Washington to revise its “unjust decision”. It said sanctions would inevitably harm mutual relations and threatened unspecified retaliatory steps.
Senior US officials said in a call with reporters that Ankara’s purchase of the S-400s and its refusal to reverse its decision, despite repeated pleas from Washington, left the United States with no other choice.
The sanctions, first reported by Reuters last week, target Turkey’s top defence procurement and development body Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), its chairman Ismail Demir and three other employees.
The measures, which received a bipartisan welcome from the US Congress, were announced under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, the first time the act has been used against a fellow member of the Nato alliance. Turkey’s lira rallied about one per cent as Washington opted not to adopt broader sanctions but analysts said the move was still likely to weigh on the Turkish economy, already in a coronavirus-induced slowdown and with double-digit inflation.
Ankara acquired the Russian S-400 ground-to-air defences in mid-2019 and says they pose no threat to Nato allies. But Washington has long threatened sanctions and last year removed Turkey from an F-35 jet programme.—Reuters