June 26, 2019

House Wants Turkey to Cancel Missile Purchase

Turkey

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer joined with House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) and ranking member Michael McCaul (R-TX); Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) and ranking member Kay Granger (R-TX); and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) in May to introduce legislation that calls on the government of Turkey to cancel its planned acquisition of the S-400 air and missile defense system from Russia.

“I’m proud to join a bipartisan group of members in sending a message of strong support for the US-Turkish alliance within the framework of NATO and to oppose Turkey’s purchase of a Russian weapons system,” Congressman Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) said. “We remain deeply concerned about the present drift of Turkey’s leaders away from NATO and the West and the common democratic values binding the alliance. Congress will continue to promote a strong security partnership with Turkey and a united NATO alliance.”

House Resolution 372 emphasizes the US’s historic alliance with Turkey and urges Turkish President Erdogan to avoid creating a military relationship with Russia that could jeopardize the US-Turkish partnership and Turkey’s role in NATO.

Rep. Engel said that the resolution demonstrates the US Congress’ strong commitment to the country’s historic relationship with Turkey, but that Congress is troubled by the direction that President Erdogan is taking. “His attacks on democracy, civil society, and the free press are deeply concerning,” Rep. Engel said. “And cozying up to Vladimir Putin is unacceptable. The US Congress will not stand idly by if Erdogan pursues the Russian S-400 air and missile defense system. This legislation sends a clear message to Erdogan — if you continue down this path, you’ll face serious consequences.”

“If Ankara buys Russian missile systems, the United States should immediately implement sanctions and boot Turkey from the F-35 program,” Rep. McCaul said. “Our bipartisan resolution should be taken as a clear statement from Congress that Turkey must choose: partner with Russia or its NATO allies.”

Purchasing the Russian system will lead to Turkey being unable to purchase F-35s from the US. “This resolution makes it abundantly clear that Turkey’s planned acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 undermines their continued participation in the F-35 program,” Rep. Granger said.

Background

Turkey’s government has said it could take delivery of the Russian S-400 air-and-missile defense system as early as July. Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (22 US C. 9525) requires sanctions on any person that conducts a significant transaction with the Russian defense or intelligence sectors. Turkey is also attempting to purchase some 100 F-35 aircraft and participates in production of the F-35.

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For more information about House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, visit his Leader member page.

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