The administration of US President Donald Trump continues to make efforts aimed at discouraging Turkey from purchasing S-400 air defense systems from Russia, said US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last Wednesday, May 23.
"We continue to work to keep Turkey in a place where it doesn’t actually acquire the S-400. I believe that they have not yet [gotten it] and we are hopeful they never take possession," he noted.
One of the congressmen expressed the view that Turkey purchases the S-400 from Russia in violation of the sanctions imposed last year by Washington against Moscow, and asked Pompeo whether the Trump administration intends to punish Turkey by denying it the opportunity to acquire F-35 fifth-generation fighters from the USA. "The decision is yet to be taken on this matter," the Secretary of State replied.
Washington has repeatedly claimed Turkey’s attempts to secure the missile systems are not in the best interests of NATO. "Turkey must continue to be in NATO but the actions it takes should stay in step with what the Alliance pursues," Pompeo said, answering the question of whether Ankara should be excluded from NATO.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at a press conference that after talks with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, Moscow decided to speed up the deliveries of the S-400 to Turkey. During his speech in Ankara on April 9, Erdogan stated that Turkey would not refuse to purchase these air defense systems from Russia.
On May 6, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu warned on CNN Turk TV that if the United States "decides to impose sanctions against Ankara or limit the visa regime with Turkey then Ankara would take retaliatory measures against Washington."