The final version of a U.S. defense spending bill will require Washington to issue sanctions against Turkish individuals involved in the acquisition of the S-400 Russian air defense system.
The bill, which still needs to be passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump, requires the imposition of sanctions 30 days after the legislation is passed.
The bill calls for sanctions on "each person that knowingly engaged in the acquisition of the S-400 air defense system."
The legislation allows the president to rescind the sanctions after a year.
Ties between NATO allies Turkey and the United States were tested last year over Ankara’s acquisition of the advanced S-400 Russian air defense system, prompting Washington to remove Turkey from its F-35 Lightning II jet program.
The U.S. argued that the system could be used by Russia to covertly obtain classified details on the Lockheed Martin F-35 jets and is incompatible with NATO systems. Turkey, however, insists that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Back in October, R. Clarke Cooper, the top State Department official in charge of arms sales, said that Turkey runs the risk of sanctions after it tested Russia's S-400 air defense system.
Cooper said the U.S. had set a red line of Turkey not activating the S-400.
Even after the test, he hoped that Turkey would "walk back from operationalizing" the system.
"Put it away, decommission it, just do not integrate it and make it operable," he said.
"We certainly are working to make sure that Turkey remains in the West. This is something that's important not only to the United States but to the overall alliance."
Previous talks between Turkey and the U.S. on the purchase of Patriot missiles collapsed over a host of issues, from the S-400s to Ankara’s dissatisfaction with Washington’s terms. Turkey has said it will only agree to an offer if it includes a technology transfer and joint production terms.
Ankara has repeatedly stressed it was the U.S.' refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek out other sellers, adding that Russia had offered a better deal that included technology transfers. Turkey even proposed setting up a commission to clarify any technical issues.
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