US senator says closer Turkey-Russia ties is ‘big mistake’

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Turkey’s possible purchase of S-400 missile systems from Russia would violate American sanctions, while any expansion of Ankara-Moscow defence ties would be a grave mistake, declared a senior US senator.

US Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned the NATO ally against buying Russian missiles.

He called Russian President Vladimir Putin a ‘war criminal’ and stressed that Turkey should reject any military cooperation with him and demonstrate its commitment to NATO.

In a statement senator, Menendez said he was “deeply concerned” about reports that Turkey is considering further purchases of the Russian S-400 missile defence system.

“A delivery would be another clear violation of US sanctions mandated by the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions law.

“As Russia continues its brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine, Turkey has a responsibility and an opportunity to unequivocally demonstrate its commitment to NATO and to regional peace and security by fully rejecting any military cooperation with a war criminal like Vladimir Putin.

Menendez accused Turkey of continued “antagonistic violations” of Greece’s airspace and delaying the accession process for Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership.

“I sincerely hope Turkey will change course and live up to its responsibilities to the defence alliance by being the constructive partner in the region we all hope it can be.

“The United States must be clear: Any expansion of Turkey’s ties to the Russian defence sector would be a grave mistake that would further endanger the security of our NATO allies and partners throughout Europe.”