US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Turkey and all US allies on Wednesday to refrain from making further purchases of Russian weaponry, saying this could trigger more sanctions.
US-Turkish relations have been strained over issues ranging from Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems — over which it was the target of US sanctions — to policy differences over Syria, human rights and a US court case targeting Turkey’s majority state-owned Halkbank, Reuters reported.
“It’s also very important going forward that Turkey, and for that matter all US allies and partners, avoid future purchases of Russian weaponry, including additional S-400s,” Blinken said at a virtual event at Washington’s Foreign Press Center.
“Any significant transactions with Russian defense entities, again, could be subject to the law, to CAATSA, and that’s separate from and in addition to the sanctions that have already been imposed,” he said, referring to the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, which is designed to dissuade countries from buying military equipment from the NATO foe.
Blinken also said that given President Joe Biden’s widely-known views, his declaration on Saturday that the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide should not have come as a surprise.
Turkey’s presidential spokesman said on Sunday Biden’s declaration was “simply outrageous” and Turkey would respond over the coming months.