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US sanctions NATO ally Turkey for buying Russian S-400 air defense system

Pompeo says America will not tolerate significant transactions with Moscow’s defense and intelligence sectors

Military vehicles and equipment, parts of the S-400 air defense systems, are unloaded from a Russian transport aircraft at Murted military airport in Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019. (Turkish Defense Ministry via AP, Pool)
Military vehicles and equipment, parts of the S-400 air defense systems, are unloaded from a Russian transport aircraft at Murted military airport in Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019. (Turkish Defense Ministry via AP, Pool)

WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on Turkey’s military procurement agency after the NATO ally defiantly bought Russia’s S-400 air defense system.

“Today’s action sends a clear signal that the United States will fully implement (US law) and will not tolerate significant transactions with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

President Donald Trump’s administration said it was banning all US export licenses to the Presidency of Defense Industries and refusing any visas for the agency’s president, Ismail Demir.

Russia last year delivered the S-400 air defense system despite warnings that it is not compatible with being part of the NATO alliance.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had warned that sanctions would be “disrespectful,” although his government went ahead with testing.

US President Donald Trump, left, walks off toward the Oval Office after posing for photographers with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before a meeting in the White House, November 13, 2019, in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP)

“The United States made clear to Turkey at the highest levels and on numerous occasions that its purchase of the S-400 system would endanger the security of US 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,” Pompeo said.

“Turkey nevertheless decided to move ahead with the procurement and testing of the S-400, despite the availability of alternative, NATO-interoperable systems to meet its defense requirements.”

The United States already evicted Turkey from joint efforts in developing the F-35 fighter jet.

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