Earlier this month, the US Senate passed the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), which included economic measures against Ankara for the acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defence systems.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusolgu has stated that US sanctions will have no impact on the country, adding that Ankara is considering reciprocal measures against Washington.
He stressed that Turkey won’t ditch the S-400 deal, noting the purchase predates the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) bill, so Turkey can’t be targeted for it. According to the minister, Washington’s decisions on the issue are wrong both legally and politically, as they are trying to undermine his country’s sovereign rights.
The Turkish President of Defence Industries, Ismail Demir, also said that the sanctions would not weaken Ankara.
“Sanctions do not affect anything, except for people and agencies that they target. They do not affect agreements that have been signed earlier. We do not think that sanctions will cause any damage or make us weaker, as the current condition of our armed forces and security forces means they cannot be subject to any influence”, he stated in an interview with Turkish broadcaster A Haber.
The CAATSA bill was signed by US President Donald Trump in August 2017 and imposed punitive measures on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. The legislation also incorporated the provisions of the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act, and provided sanctions for activities concerning multiple issues, including any transactions with the Russian defence or intelligence sectors.
The dispute with the US started in 2017, when Ankara signed an agreement with Moscow, picking Russia’s S-400 over America’s Patriot systems.
The US slammed the decision, demanding that Turkey leave the deal, and removed its NATO ally from the F-35 fighter jet programme when the first batch of the Russian-made systems was delivered to Turkish forces in July 2019. According to Washington, Russia could use the air defence system to gather information on the advanced capabilities of the US aircraft.
Ankara dismissed the allegations and refused to cancel the purchase, offering to start talks on the issue and create a joint expert group to appease Washington’s concerns regarding the weapon, which the US ignored.