Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) released the following statement today after reports that Turkey received its first shipment of an advanced Russian air-defense system, the S-400, despite security warnings from the United States and NATO:
“Turkey’s decision to proceed with the acquisition of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system presents a serious national security threat to the United States and to our NATO allies. By purchasing and integrating a sophisticated Russian missile defense system into NATO hardware, Turkey not only stands to jeopardize NATO security in the region but also presents Russia with a victory in its ongoing effort to sow division and distrust among NATO member states. Under President Erdogan, Turkey has spiraled – perilously – into an anti-democratic, authoritarian regime whose actions have repeatedly undermined NATO defenses. In order to demonstrate that it can operate as a trusted and reliable partner in the region, Turkey must take immediate steps to completely dismantle and return the S-400 system to Russia.”
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Sarbanes has led a bipartisan effort to prevent Turkey from receiving American F-35 fighter jets until the U.S. Department of State could verify that Turkey had backed down from its attempts to buy the S-400 advanced Russian missile defense system.