The United States on Monday announced sanctions against Turkey for its purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the measures, which were imposed under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), include a ban on all U.S. export licenses and authorizations to Turkey's Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) and an asset freeze and visa restrictions on its president Ismail Demir and other officers.
The statement said that Washington had made clear to Ankara "at the highest levels and on numerous occasions that its purchase of the S-400 system would endanger the security of U.S. military technology and personnel and provide substantial funds to Russia's defense sector, as well as Russian access to the Turkish armed forces and defense industry."
"Today's action sends a clear signal that the United States will fully implement CAATSA Section 231 and will not tolerate significant transactions with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors," the statement added.
The move would lead to further deterioration in relations between the two NATO allies, which had been fraught over several regional issues such as Syria and the eastern Mediterranean. Pompeo did not meet with any senior Turkish officials during his trip to Turkey last month.
U.S. media reported that the latest move is a way of pre-empting a demand in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which mandates U.S. sanctions against Turkey over the S-400 purchase within 30 days of the enactment of the bill. A State Department official denied such speculation during a Monday briefing call.
A primary U.S. concern is that Russia might collect the stealthy technology and data of the F-35 fighter jets if paired with the S-400 system.
Turkey planned to buy 100 F-35 jets and was a manufacturer for some components for the advanced stealthy fighter jets that the United States and its key allies equipped with. The Trump administration terminated Turkey's involvement with the F-35 program when Ankara began taking the delivery of the S-400 system in July 2019.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed in October that the Turkish army had been testing the S-400 air defense system, drawing condemnation from the United States.
Russia and Turkey finalized the S-400 air defense system deal worth about 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, and the delivery was completed in 2019. Turkey is the first NATO member to purchase such a system from Russia.