The United States (U.S.) is likely to impose sanctions on Turkey unless it “gets rid of” Russian S-400 missile defense systems, U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser told broadcaster CBS on Sunday.
Speaking in a televised interview, Face the Nation, the Adviser Robert O’Brien said that “Turkey would feel the impact of sanctions” called the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
Consisting of penalties under the U.S. law, the CAATSA would pass the U.S. Congress with “overwhelming” bipartisan support, O’Brien said.
During a meeting in Washington on November 13, Trump will confront his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the decision to purchase the S-400s about which the US was “very upset”, according to Trump aide.
“They play a very important role. So losing Turkey as an ally is not something that is good for Europe or for the US. And we are going to work on making sure that we can do our very best to keep them as a NATO member,” O’Brien said.
The U.S. House had previously passed a resolution over Turkey’s S-400 acquisition. Ankara, however, ignored the resolution and started receiving its first S-400 deliveries in July, but has not yet activated the batteries.
In reaction, The U.S. administration removed its NATO ally from the F-35 fighter jet program in which Turkey was both a manufacturer and buyer.
“There is no place in NATO for the S-400. There is no place in NATO for significant Russian military purchases,” O’Brien said, referring to the US argument which says the Russian S-400s are not compatible with NATO forces and could compromise the F-35 fighter jets built by American firm Lockheed Martin Corp.
However, Turkey argues that the S-400 missile defense system would not be integrated into NATO defense systems.
In response to a question of whether the U.S. president would veto the sanctions against Turkey, his adviser said they would “have to see what happens”.
The scheduled second delivery of S-400s may be delayed by talks on technology sharing and joint production, the head of Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate said earlier this month.
Nearly 60 percent of Turkey’s weapons are imported from the US, followed by Spain and Italy.
The country, the world’s 13th biggest arms importer, operates 333 US-made fighter aircraft, 2,400 tanks, and 31 transport aircraft, according to the Center for International Policy.
The new U.S. threat came after the U.S. Congress passed two resolutions on October 29 which called on Trump to impose sanctions on Turkey and its officials over its recent Syria offensive and to officially recognize the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 as genocide.
On October 9, Turkish armed forces launched an operation to clear northern Syria off the US-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia forces which it regards as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist armed group operating within Turkey.
Turkey to also hopes to resettle up to two million Syrian refugees in a planned safe zone in northwestern Syria.