WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – The U.S. Department of State has imposed sanctions against a Turkish defense agency and four of its officials in response to Ankara’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system, according to an announcement.
The sanctions, which will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, are being brought against the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), a government agency tasked with managing military technology and Turkey’s defense industry.
"The Secretary of State (Antony Blinken) has… selected certain sanctions to be imposed upon SSB and Ismail Demir, SSB’s president; Faruk Yigit, SSB’s vice president; Serhat Gencoglu, SSB’s head of the Department of Air Defense and Space; and Mustafa Alper Deniz, Program Manager for SSB’s Regional Air Defense Systems Directorate, pursuant to CAATSA,” the Department of State notice said.
The U.S. says Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system is incompatible with NATO technology and poses a threat to the Euro-Atlantic alliance.
The U.S. had already barred Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet program over the purchase of the Russian-made missile system.
In a pervious statement earlier this year, the State Department said that "Russian S-400s are incompatible with NATO equipment, threaten the security of NATO technology, and are inconsistent with Turkey’s commitments as a NATO Ally. This significant transaction from Russia triggered CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) sanctions under U.S. legislation.”
However, Cavusoglu replied that Ankara’s purchase of a Russian missile-defense system was "a done deal”.
"On the S-400s, we reminded them once again why Turkey had to buy them and repeated that Turkey had bought them and this is a done deal,” Cavusoglu told reporters in Brussels, where the two officials met on the sidelines of a NATO meeting.
A Russian official says the United States’ practice of blackmailing other countries and imposing sanctions on them is continuing under the administration of President Joe Biden and will never end.
"No changes since then so far. This policy will continue with some exceptions,” Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Turkey has condemned the sanctions as a "grave mistake” that would inevitably harm mutual relations between Ankara and Washington and has threatened retaliation.
Turkey and Russia finalized the agreement on the delivery of the S-400 missile systems in late 2017.
The S-400 is considered Russia’s most advanced long-range, anti-aircraft missile system.
Turkey has sought to boost its air defense particularly since Washington decided in 2015 to withdraw its Patriot surface-to-air missile system from the Turkish border with Syria, a move that weakened Turkey’s air defense.