- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 14, 2019

A key Senate Republican is urging members to pump the brakes on legislation that would sanction Turkey for purchasing the Russian S-400 missile defense system despite warnings from the Trump administration of potential security risks.

Speaking to reporters in his office Thursday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James Risch said “probably it’s best we don’t pass a sanctions bill at this moment.”

His comments came just one day after he attended a White House meeting with President Trump and visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a gathering which the Idaho Republican described as “spirited.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have joined together in condemning Turkey’s purchase of the Russian weapon that is incompatible with the American-made F-35 fighter jet and is believed to be capable of spying on U.S. and NATO systems.

Several bills have been introduced in the Senate that would sanction the NATO ally for its acquisition of the S-400, bills that Mr. Risch suggested should be marked up by his committee “and then we put one foot in front of the other.”

Mr. Erdogan came to the meeting that included a number of top Republican lawmakers, with several negotiating points but it remains unclear what his requests included.

“When he left, I’m absolutely convinced that he is very clearly aware of the decisions that he has to make and the repercussions from those decisions,” Mr. Risch said.

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