Report: US to sanction Turkey over S-400

Officials say Trump’s team has settled on sanctions package to punish Turkey for receiving parts of Russian missile defense system.

Ben Ariel ,

S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile system
S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile system

US President Donald Trump’s team has settled on a sanctions package to punish Turkey for receiving parts of the S-400 Russian missile defense system, officials told Bloomberg on Saturday.

The plan is expected to be announced in the coming days, according to the report.

The administration chose one of three sets of actions devised to inflict varying degrees of pain under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, the officials said, without identifying which set had been chosen. The plan needs Trump’s approval.

Turkey on Friday received the first batch of Russia's S-400 missile defense system, despite US warnings not to purchase them.

Washington says the S-400 poses a threat to the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 stealthy fighters, which Turkey also plans to buy.

The US also believes the S-400 sale is part of Russian efforts to disrupt the alliance amid Western concern over Erdogan's burgeoning relationship with Putin.

Turkish officials insist that the deal to purchase the S-400 does not affect the security of the US and have repeatedly stressed that they will go ahead with the deal despite Washington’s objections.

One of the officials who spoke to Bloomberg said the intention is to announce the sanctions late next week. The administration wants to wait until after Monday’s anniversary of a 2016 coup attempt against Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to avoid fueling further speculation that the US was responsible for the uprising, as Erdogan’s loyalists have claimed.

The plan was developed after days of discussions between officials at the State and Defense departments and the National Security Council. It awaits a sign-off by Trump and his top advisers, the people said, requesting anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.

A State Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Erdogan has said he is confident Turkey will not face US sanctions. The Turkish leader recently he said he would use his "good" relationship with Trump to try to defuse the crisis over the S-400 purchase.

Acting US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday that Washington’s position that Turkey can’t have both the F-35 and the Russian missile system “has not changed.” Esper spoke with Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in the afternoon, and the Turkish government said in a statement that a US delegation would visit next week to keep discussing the issue.