US President Donald Trump has held a closed-door meeting at the White House with Republican senators to discuss sanctions against Turkey over its recent purchase of the Sa Russian missile defence system, local media reported yesterday.
During the meeting, which was attended by 45 Republican senators, Trump called on the lawmakers for "flexibility" in responding to the Turkish deal. He argued against retaliating with congressionally mandated sanctions, which many of the lawmakers we reported to have recommended.
The 90-minute meeting discussed the sanctions under 2017 Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, known as CAATSA.
Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defence system from the US with no success, Ankara signed a contract in 2017 to purchase the S-400s from Russia. US officials urged Turkey to buy US Patriot missiles, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge.
Turkey, however, emphasised the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
It has urged the formation of a commission to clarify any technical issues, but the US has failed to respond to Turkey's proposal.
On Wednesday, Washington announced it was removing Turkey from the joint program F-35 stealth fighter jet program, following through on threats to do so over Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-air system.
The missiles' deliveries, which began last week, are set to continue until April 2020.