Turkey downplays impact of US sanctions

A Russian plane carrying parts of the S-400 lands at Murted military base near Ankara on August 27, 2019.

Turkey does not fear sanctions “Unjust” inflicted on it by the United States for the purchase from Russia – the number one adversary of the Atlantic Alliance of which Ankara is a member – of the S-400 anti-missile system. The Turkish Presidency sees advantages in this, in particular prospects for cooperation “With other countries”, as pointed out, Tuesday, December 15, Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesperson of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The threat of sanctions had hung over Turkey since July 2019, when the S-400s were delivered by Moscow. An eastern pillar of NATO since 1952, Turkey threw a cold among its allies by purchasing the S-400s from Russia, originally designed to detect and destroy Alliance planes.

“The growth of the national defense industry may even be faster. These sanctions are both a catalyst and a warning ”, For his part, Ismail Demir, the head of the Turkish defense industries (SSB), estimated. SSB is however the only entity concerned by the sanctions announced Monday by Washington. These provide for the prohibition of all export licenses and all loans that may be granted to the agency, as well as the freezing of any assets of its number one, Ismaïl Demir, and three of his collaborators. , now banned from staying in the United States. This government agency plays a crucial role in the purchase of armaments, the acquisition of export licenses, industrial cooperation and the development of the national defense industry.

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The Pentagon fears in particular that the Russian anti-missiles S-400, equipped with a powerful radar, will manage to decipher the technological secrets of the F-35, the American stealth fighters of the last generation. For this reason, Washington suspended Turkish participation in the F-35 manufacturing program immediately after the delivery of the first S-400s.

Not affected by sanctions

This retaliatory measure aside, US President Donald Trump then did everything to delay the implementation of the sanctions, seeking to spare his Turkish counterpart whom he claimed to be. ” a fan “. The election of Joe Biden as president was a game-changer. The U.S. defense budget for 2021, due to be voted on by December 31, contains a legislative provision forcing the White House to sanction Ankara for purchasing Russian systems.

This is the first time that this type of measure, provided for by American law and “Aimed at containing the enemies of America by sanctions”, is used against a NATO member. The law provides for sanctions in particular when a country concludes a “Significant transaction” with the Russian arms industry.

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