The U.S. administration has been working on strong sanctions to be imposed on Turkey shortly after it is confirmed that Ankara has received its first shipment of S-400 batteries purchased from Russia, columnist Josh Rogin said in the Washington Post on Thursday, citing several officials.
Turkey’s Ministry of Defence announced on Friday that the Turkish military had begun receiving its first delivery of S-400 hardware at an airbase adjacent to the capital Ankara.
The United States is set to expel Turkey from the programme to help build F-35 fighter jets and may take measures under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which could have potentially serious consequences for the Turkish defence sector and the already ailing wider economy.
According to Rogin, Turkey called Washington’s bluff this week by starting the delivery of S-400 batteries. “The problem for Turkey, though, is that the Trump administration wasn’t bluffing,” he said.
By standing firm on plans to acquire Russian systems, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has directly defied the U.S. Congress and the government, and is damaging the credibility of U.S. sanctions policy worldwide, Rogin said.
“That’s one reason the Trump administration isn’t going to look the other way. Several officials told me the administration is preparing strong sanctions to be enacted shortly after Turkey is confirmed to have accepted the S-400 delivery,” the columnist said.
“Today, Erdogan seems to have decided he is more concerned about his relationship with Russia than with the United States,” Rogin said, adding that things will change once Turkish people start feeling the economic pain of U.S. sanctions. “Perhaps that will help them realise that they need leaders who see Turkey’s future security and prosperity in its relationship with the West, not Moscow,” he said.