WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Two US senators on Wednesday urged the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Ankara over reports Turkey activated the Russian-made S-400 air defense system to detect F-16 fighter jets flown by NATO.
“We write concerning public reports that Turkey has activated the radars of its Russian-made S400 anti-aircraft system, in order to detect US-made F-16 fighter jets returning from the Eunomia exercise conducted by France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus in late August in response to Turkey’s unwarranted aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean… Given this information, we again urge you to impose sanctions on Turkey as required by law,” Senators Chris Van Hollen and James Lankford said in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The lawmakers have requested Pompeo provide information by 14 October on whether Turkey did activate the S-400 to detect F-16 fighter jets returning from the Eunomia exercise and if it also integrated the Link 16, NATO’s tactical data link, into the S-400 system, which they said could enable Russia to gather information on NATO allies.
Earlier in the day, the Sputnik Turkey news agency reported that Ankara had deployed S-400 air defense systems to the Black Sea province of Samsun – probably for testing. The Turkish authorities have not made any official statements on this yet.
A State Department spokesperson told Sputnik that the United States was aware of these reports and is deeply concerned, adding that the S-400 transaction puts Turkey at risk for potential sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
In 2017, Russia agreed to supply S-400s to Ankara, provoking outrage among Turkey’s NATO allies, especially the United States.