The United States has warned Turkey against taking any additional steps to deploy Russia’s S-400 missile systems and warn of the consequences, even if it could push Ankara towards an alliance with Moscow. This was announced on Wednesday by US Assistant Secretary of State Clark Cooper.
Relations between Washington and Ankara, which have soured in recent years, escalated last week when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that the Turkish military had tested Russian-made air defense systems.
Erdogan’s statement was criticized by Pentagon officials, and on Wednesday a senior State Department official said the risk of new sanctions against Turkey was “very real.”
“The sanctions are now being considered,” Assistant Secretary of State Clark Cooper told reporters. According to him, the S-400 system is incompatible with American-made platforms and with NATO principles in general.
“The introduction of such a … system entails an additional risk of sanctions and … imposition of restrictions [в отношении Турции]”Cooper said.
Turkey signed an agreement with Russia on the purchase of the S-400 air defense system in 2017. Deliveries began in July 2019. Since then, the United States has barred Turkey from participating in the American F-35 fighter program and has repeatedly threatened Ankara with sanctions, although this threat has not yet been implemented.
Clark Cooper said Wednesday that US patience with Ankara is “running out.”
“Over the past year, Turkey has missed the opportunity to reconcile and return … to good relations with the US and NATO,” said a State Department official.
White House administration officials warn that Turkey’s use of advanced Russian radar technology could threaten NATO’s military systems. At gunpoint will be the aircraft of the North Atlantic Alliance flying in airspace over Turkey, including F-35 fighters.
President Erdogan brushed aside Washington’s warnings last week, saying that Ankara “absolutely does not care” about the US position. Despite the fact that the situation is clearly at an impasse, the United States is still looking for ways to bring Ankara back into the Western community.
Cooper, who recently returned from a business trip to Greece and Bulgaria, said the US called on both of these countries, as well as other NATO allies, to do everything it can to “make sure Turkey stays with the West.”
“Turkey’s absence from the alliance is damaging it,” Cooper said. “They continue to play an important role … in making Europe and the region more secure.”
It remains to be seen whether the United States will be able to cope with the “destructive actions of Moscow”, which, according to Cooper, is trying to embroil Ankara with Western countries. If it fails, Washington warns that Turkey, the United States, and NATO as a whole may suffer.
“The only one who will benefit from Turkey’s withdrawal from the West or its separation from Europe will be Moscow. It will not be profitable even for Turkey, ”the Assistant Secretary of State warned.