- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is preparing to mark up legislation next week that would impose sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system that the Pentagon fears could undercut NATO’s defenses.

Sen. James Risch, Idaho Republican, introduced a bill earlier this year with his Democratic counterpart Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey that would prohibit arms sales with Ankara and sanction officials who are providing arms to Turkish forces in Syria.

The chairman is planning to debate a final version of the legislation next week, according to a senior committee aide, which marks the last legislative week in 2019.

The latest development comes less than one month after Mr. Risch and other lawmakers had what he described as a “spirited” meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have condemned Turkey’s purchase of the Russian weapon that is incompatible with the American-made F-35 fighter jet and is believed will give Moscow valuable insights on U.S. and NATO systems.



The chairman’s expected move comes on the heels of reports from Turkish media that Ankara has begun testing the Russian system despite strong warnings from the U.S. and NATO allies.

Lawmakers are also weighing using the massive pending defense policy bill to further sanctions Turkey, but the schedule is tight as the House and Senate race to complete the legislation by next week.

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