The United States has reportedly warned Turkey against the consequences of its decision to buy S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries from Russia, saying Washington could slap Ankara with sanctions over such a purchase.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an American official expressed concerns over Turkey’s plan to buy the Russian S-400 missile system, saying the purchase would potentially expose Turkey to new sanctions law recently passed by Congress, according to the Turkish daily Haberturk.
Moscow and Ankara finalized an agreement on the delivery of the S-400 surface-to-air missile systems on December 2017. The deal has drawn concerns among some of Turkey’s NATO allies who claim the missile batteries are not compatible with those of the military alliance.
The US official further said that the potential acquisition of the missile systems would “negatively influence the interoperability of NATO,” the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization to which Turkey is a member.
The official also said that Washington was seeking to “help Turkey find a better alternative to meet its air defense needs.”
Earlier this month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke out against the language of threats regarding its purchase of the S-400 systems.
“We do not use and will not accept the language of threats. Yes, the US Congress adopted a law [on anti-Russia sanctions]. But we need to ensure our national security. We would like to purchase the means to ensure it from our allies,” Cavusoglu said during a press conference with his American counterpart Rex Tillerson on February 16.
The US State Department has previously threatened to apply “appropriate measures” against countries willing to purchase advanced weaponry, particularly the S-400 missile defense systems.
On August 2, 2017, US President Donald Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that imposed sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea.
The latest threat of sanctions come amid tense relations between the US and Turkey over Washington’s support for the Kurdish militants in northern Syria. Ankara views those militants as terrorists linked with the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has been fighting for autonomy.
Ankara launched a military campaign against US-backed Kurdish militants on Syrian soil after the US said it would set up a 30,000-strong militant force at Turkish doorstep.