- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 14, 2019

The lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee says Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 missile system is “very problematic.”

Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican, said Turkey “can’t have it both ways. … You can’t be a NATO ally and buy Russian military equipment.”

Turkey on Friday announced it had received the first shipment of the Russian system, ignoring several warnings from the U.S.

Washington has repeatedly warned Ankara not to follow through on the S-400 deal, reportedly worth upwards of $2 billion. Top officials in the White House, Pentagon and State Department have stressed that the U.S. could impose economic sanctions in response to the agreement.

There have also been concerns that Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is deepening its ties with Russia, potentially marking a power shift in the region.

Mr. McCaul said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is “making a serious mistake” and urged him to reject the Russian sale and buy American.

The Trump administration maintains that the S-400 is incompatible with NATO defense systems and specifically cannot be used in the conjunction with American F-35 fighter jets.

The ranking member of the committee explained the Russian system can be used to spy on and shoot down the F-35 aircraft.

“You cannot have both of them in the same country,” Mr. McCaul added.

Officials have said that delivery of the S-400 missile system would mean Turkey no longer has access to the F-35 program.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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