The Pentagon on Friday condemned studies that Turkey had test-fired a Russian air protection system and threatened additional punishment in opposition to Ankara, placing the 2 NATO allies on a authorized and political collision course.
“If correct, the division strongly condemns the check,” Jonathan Hoffman, the Protection Division’s chief spokesman, stated in an announcement. “We’ve got been clear: an operational S-400 system just isn’t according to Turkey’s commitments as a U.S. and NATO ally.”
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The uncommon condemnation of a treaty ally got here hours after Turkish tv channel A Haber broadcast beginner video that appeared to point out a contrail capturing into the sky within the Turkish Black Sea province of Sinop. The channel’s web site stated the footage depicted a check of the Russian-made S-400 air protection system.
The Turkish Ministry of Protection has refused to comment on the studies, neither confirming nor denying them.
The U.S. has beforehand warned Turkey that it could sanction its ally if it prompts the anti-aircraft system, which might violate a legislation designed to punish Russia, Iran and North Korea often called the Countering America’s Adversaries By way of Sanctions Act, or CAATSA. President Donald Trump has beforehand criticized the law as “considerably flawed.”
The Trump administration has grappled for months with what it considers Turkey’s intransigence relating to the S-400 system. Members of Congress have expressed alarm on the buy, which they are saying may in the end present Russia with the data it must defeat superior NATO weapons methods, together with the subtle F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
“We object to Turkey’s buy of the system, and are deeply involved with studies that Turkey is bringing it into operation,” Hoffman stated Friday afternoon. “It shouldn’t be activated. Doing so dangers critical penalties for our safety relationship. Turkey has already been suspended from the F-35 program and the S-400 continues to be a barrier to progress elsewhere within the bilateral relationship.”
The U.S. kicked Turkey out of the F-35 program this summer season, halting the supply of associated gear to the Turkish navy and driving an extra wedge between Ankara and Washington.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has beforehand justified the acquisition of the Russian weapons by saying the U.S. had beforehand made it too troublesome to purchase American-made Patriot missile methods as a substitute.
Although the division additionally comes amid Erdogan’s authoritarian crackdown on civil liberties within the predominantly Muslim nation that has led to a broad unraveling of the U.S.-Turkey alliance.