How US sanctions over a Russian weapon could rattle Turkey

Who says: “Sanctions would have a very consequential effect on Turkey, but probably not mark a breaking point in its U.S. relationship”?


Turkey is on the cusp of facing U.S. sanctions over its decision to buy a Russian S-400 missile defense system, leaving its already soft currency and economy vulnerable and raising questions over its position within NATO and the region.

If no solution is found in coming weeks and U.S.-Turkish tensions continue to worsen, tit-for-tat sanctions could hit trade between the allies and prolong a recession in Turkey that has already tested President Tayyip Erdogan’s grip on power.

Turkey also risks being rapidly cut out of the production and use of American F-35 fighter jets, which could mark a step toward a re-evaluation of its 67-year membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“It’s very complex to resolve because both U.S. and Turkish officials see this as a reflection of a larger geo-political balancing,” said Galip Dalay, visiting scholar at the University of Oxford’s politics and international relations department.

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