- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2019

Two U.S. senators, one from each party, are calling on President Trump to impose sanctions on Turkey for its acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defense system that the U.S. and NATO could undercut the effective of the American-made new F-35 fighter jet and weaken the alliance.

In a letter sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, Sens. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, and Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, said that “failure to [sanction Turkey] is sending a terrible signal to other countries that they can flout U.S. laws without consequence.”

The letter comes just one week after Turkish media reported that Ankara has begun testing the Russian system despite strong warnings from the U.S. and NATO allies.

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The senators said time is running out to make Ankara reverse course, noting that a key Russian arms exporter has expressed hopes to “seal a deal to supply Turkey with even more S-400 missile systems in the first half of next year.”

Republican and Democratic lawmakers for months have been demanding that the administration impose sanctions on Turkey for the purchase, but the White House has yet to formally punish Ankara outside of removing Turkey from the F-35 joint manufacturing program.

Congress has repeatedly mulled adding language to the massive defense policy bill that would sanction Turkey, and several bills have been introduced in the Senate that would do the same.

Mr. Graham and Mr. Van Hollen said their bill requires the U.S. to authorize sanctions stemming from Turkey’s purchase.

“The time for patience has long expired,” the lawmakers wrote to Mr. Trump. “It’s time you applied the law.”

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