Turkey Slams US Sanctions Over Russian Missile System Purchase

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’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks after a cabinet meeting, in Ankara, Turkey, Dec. 14, 2020.Ankara has reportedly stepped up its courting of the incoming U.S. president, employing new political lobbying firms with close links to the future Biden administration and sending high-level party officials to Washington to coordinate efforts.”On the Biden administration, it will not be the first time Erdogan will be working with a Democratic president,” said Aydin. “U.S. priorities of drawing a line to both Russia and Iran speak for themselves.”Turkey’s geographic position makes it well placed to counter both Russian and Iranian regional ambitions. Ankara’s current close ties with Moscow and Tehran are major points of contention with its Western allies.A diplomatic reorienting of Turkey away from Iran and Russia and concessions over the S-400, analysts say, are among Erdogan’s most powerful cards in dealing with Biden.In an effort to keep Turkey close, Iran and Russia were quick to condemn the U.S. sanctions. “It’s yet another manifestation of an arrogant attitude toward international law and the use of illegitimate unilateral forcible measures,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference Tuesday while visiting Bosnia-Herzegovina’s capital, Sarajevo.”U.S. addiction to sanctions and contempt for international law is at the full display again. We strongly condemn recent U.S. sanctions against Turkey and stand with its people and government,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.

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