U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham repeats call for Turkey sanctions over S-400 systems

<p dir="LTR" style="text-align: justify;">Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a vocal critic of the Turkish government in recent years, has repeated his wish to see Turkey sanctioned over its purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems in an article he penned for the Wall Street Journal, together with Senator James Lankford.

&ldquo;Turkey has been an American Ally since 1952,&rdquo; wrote the senators. &ldquo;For decades Turkey worked to build a society open to people of all faiths, and stood against Russian aggression. But a valuable ally has drifted.&rdquo;

The S-400 systems Turkey purchased were &ldquo;designed to shoot down the F-35,&rdquo; the next-generation stealth fighter jet developed by the United States, the pair wrote.

Turkey was part of the F-35 program and was penciled in to purchase 100 of the jets, but was removed over the S-400 purchase last year.

Many have warned Ankara of consequences, they said, noting that &ldquo;the president should now follow the law and levy sanctions against Turkish entities,&rdquo; Ahval reported.

There is bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House for sanctions, and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was recently finalized with a clause calling for sanctions on Turkey under the Countering America&rsquo;s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

U.S. President Donald Trump gave Turkey &ldquo;every opportunity to cooperate with NATO,&rdquo; they said.

The senators urged countries of the world to &ldquo;consider who is a better trade partner: The U.S., with more than 20% of the world&rsquo;s economy, or Russia, with an economy smaller than the economies of some U.S. states,&rdquo; when choosing who to ally with.

According to the two Republican senators, punishing Turkey via sanctions &ldquo;would be a clear warning,&rdquo; whereas &ldquo;a failure to follow through would send the message that the U.S. isn&rsquo;t willing to make hard decisions.&rdquo;

The Turkish government has &ldquo;invited sanctions on an already struggling economy. It didn&rsquo;t have to be this way,&rdquo; said the pair.

&ldquo;The U.S. has an obligation to protect American interests from threats from Iran, Russia and North Korea. Turkey needs to understand the consequences of its decisions,&rdquo; they added.

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