The United States has threatened imposing Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) against Turkey if it goes ahead with the Russian S-400 Air Defence Systems deal, the State Department warned on Wednesday.
This is the first instance of the US intending to invoke CAATSA against a country for buying Russian equipment since the act came into force in 2018. Though India and China have signed up to buy the S-400 systems the US has not threatened these countries with CAATSA.
"Turkey will face very real and very negative consequences if it completes the delivery of the S-400," State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said at a pressing briefing adding that the consequences include sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), suspension of procurement of defence equipment from Turkey and industrial participation in the F-35 fighter jets program.
"These are very serious, these are very real, and I think our position remains quite consistent on that," she added.
Turkish President Erdogan reiterated Turkey's offer to set up a joint working group to address US concerns about Ankara's purchase of the S-400 air defense system during a phone call earlier this week with President Trump, Erodgan’s spokesman said.
The US has so far remained cold to the joint working group proposal. Erdogan had earlier argued that there is nothing in the F-35 purchase agreement with Turkey that it could be cancelled if it buys Russian military equipment.
Erdogan has earlier said that it has paid $1.2 billion for the F-35s and that there is nothing in the Turkey-IS agreement for these jets that the sale can be sanctioned if Ankara buys Russian equipment.