Senator Robert Menendez expressed his strong disapproval of the possibility of Turkey acquiring additional arrays of the Russian S-400 anti-missile system. The reaction of the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee comes in the wake of the publication of the Russian news agency TASS which claims that Turkey is preparing to sign a new agreement with Russia for the supply of the S-400 system.
It is recalled that Ankara’s intentions have not yet been fully clarified, as it remains to be confirmed whether Turkey really intends to sign a new defense contract with Russia as claimed by the TASS agency. In any case, the possibility of acquiring a new S-400 array remains on the table, as such is provided for in the contract it has already signed with the Russian side.
Both scenarios are strongly opposed by Senator Menendez, who calls the procurement of additional S-400s a clear violation of US sanctions and calls on Turkey to reject any military cooperation with Vladimir Putin, whom he calls a war criminal.
Senator Menendez’s Announcement on the supply of new S-400s to Turkey
“I am deeply concerned by reports that Turkey is considering further purchases of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, a delivery that would constitute another clear violation of US sanctions imposed by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
As Russia continues its brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine, Turkey has a responsibility and an opportunity to unequivocally demonstrate its commitment to NATO and regional peace and security by completely rejecting any military cooperation with a war criminal like Vladimir Putin.
“Between the ongoing competitive violations of Greece’s airspace and the delay in Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession process, I sincerely hope that Turkey will change course and live up to its responsibilities to the defense alliance, being the constructive partner in the region that we all hope it can be. The United States must be clear: any expansion of Turkey’s ties to the Russian defense sector would be a grave mistake that would further jeopardize the security of our allies and partners in NATO and across Europe “.
The State Department’s initial reaction to the publication of the Russian news agency TASS
Responding to a question from the Hellas Journal website about the possibility of a new agreement providing for the supply of additional S-400s to Turkey, a State Department representative expressed the opposition of the US to such a move. As he characteristically noted, “we have seen these reports but we are not aware of any new developments on this matter. Our position on the purchase of S-400 from Turkey is known. We refer you to the Turkish government to talk about defense plans given Russia’s brutal and unwarranted ongoing invasion of Ukraine, now more than ever we urge all countries to avoid doing business with Russia’s defense sector, which puts them at risk of sanctions.”
Later that day (July 16), State Department spokesman Ned Price took over, moving along the same lines during the standard press briefing. He appeared, however, to be taking a wait-and-see attitude, as he did not want to announce any changes to the F-16 fighter upgrade issue before the landscape was fully clarified. Asked whether the procurement of a second batch of S-400s could change the US government’s position on the F-16, Ned Price said, “of course we’ll have to wait and see what happens, but we don’t know. no new developments on this matter and so we will refer you to the Turkish authorities for now to discuss their plans.”
State Department Opposes Both Scenarios for Additional S-400 Supply: “We Urge Turkey to No Longer Own the S-400 System”
However, the State Department’s objections are not limited to the scenario presented by the TASS agency, which concerns the signing of a new contract between the Russian and Turkish sides.
In a clarifying question submitted by APE-MPE, on whether Washington is asking not to proceed with the existing contract that provides for the supply of a second S-400 array, a representative of the US Department of State clarified that the US is not simply asking that there not be a new one procurement but continue to call on Turkey to completely abandon the S-400 system it already possesses.
“We have seen these reports and are not aware of any new developments on this issue. Our position on the purchase of S-400s from Turkey is known: we call on Turkey to no longer possess the S-400 system. The acquisition of S-400 from Turkey directly contradicts commitments made by all Allies at the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw to reduce dependence on Russian equipment We refer you to the Turkish government to talk about defense plans of its supplies”.