- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Turkey could face more sanctions following their acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, which administration officials say is incompatible with NATO defense systems and specifically cannot be used in the conjunction with American F-35 fighter jets.

“We’ve made clear to the Turks that the activation of the S-400 is unacceptable,” Mr. Pompeo said in an interview with Bloomberg News late Thursday.

He explained that “there could be more sanctions” on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partner, but the administration would prefer the Russian system “not to become operational.”

Earlier this month, the Turkish defense ministry announced it had received the first shipment of the Russian system and had several more deliveries planned.

The secretary’s comments follow repeated warnings to 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 is deepening its ties with Russia, potentially marking a power shift in the region.

The administration has suspended the training program for Turkish pilots learning to fly the advanced aircraft, “that was an important part of what Turkey was doing,” Mr. Pompeo said. The Pentagon has also ordered the roughly 40 trainees to leave the U.S. by the end of this month.

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