President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he was looking at imposing sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian missile system, blaming his predecessor for not selling Ankara a US missile system.
Sitting alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump was asked whether he would issue sanctions on Turkey over the purchase of the S-400 missile system.
“We are looking at it now, and we’re talking about it now,” he told journalists.
“As you know Turkey wanted to buy our Patriot system and the (former US President Barack) Obama administration wouldn’t let them, and they only let them when they were ready to buy another system.”
Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen called on the Trump administration on Monday to impose sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of the Russian system, saying the failure to do so sends a “terrible signal” to other countries.
“The time for patience has long expired. It is time you applied the law,” Van Hollen and Graham said in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seen by Reuters. “Failure to do so is sending a terrible signal to other countries that they can flout US laws without consequence,” they said.
Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads over NATO ally Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 system, which Washington says is not compatible with NATO defenses and poses a threat to its F-35 stealth fighter jets, which Lockheed Martin Corp is developing.
Infuriating many members of Congress, Turkey shrugged off the threat of US sanctions and began receiving its first S-400 deliveries in July. In response, Washington removed Turkey from the F-35 program.