Washington has decided to impose sanctions on Turkey for the purchase of S-400 missile defense systems from Russia, concluded over a year ago, by imposing sanctions on Turkey under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), announced on December 14th.
This is the first time that American sanctions have been imposed on an allied country, one of the main members of NATO, and the second time that the purchase of S-400 batteries is sanctioned (the first case was China).
If the murder of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, of which at least three US intelligence officers were aware, according to the New York Times, was due to an incendiary and obstructive logic that the outgoing American administration, led by Donald Trump, intends to feed with the aim of weakening the prerogatives – in this specific case, a new agreement on Iranian nuclear power – of the next Biden government, the decision to impose sanctions on Turkey seems to follow an opposite logic, which could be defined as “restorative”. Perhaps, an attempt to anticipate the next president’s moves, thus eroding their potential reach.
On the one hand, Joe Biden has repeatedly called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan an “autocrat”, referring several times to the need to pursue a harsher line with Turkey than that followed by Trump in his years in office and for which many in the United States have accused him of compliance with Turkish conduct in the region. The American Congress itself, both among the Republicans and the Democrats, has registered a growing intolerance towards Ankara’s foreign policy over the last few years.
The sanctions are directed in particular against the Presidency of Defense Industries ( Savunma Sanayii Başkanlığı, SSB ), an institution that deals with military procurement, export, and development of the Defense sector, with the indirect aim of limiting Russian influence and push Ankara to step back.