As Turkey Pivots Toward Russia, Congress Quietly Halts Arms Sales

The chairmen and ranking members of both the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees have been quietly exercising veto powers to block arms sales to Turkey for more than a year, Defense News reported Wednesday.

The vetoes come in response to Turkey’s acquisition of S-400 missile defense systems from Russia—a move that signifies Ankara’s growing relationship with Moscow. Following Turkey’s missile defense purchase last year, Washington iced Turkey’s involvement in a U.S. fighter jet program.

Some experts say that Moscow is using the S-400 system as a «diplomatic tool.»

«With arms sales, a lot of people focus on the initial exchange of money, but that’s really not the main value here,» Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior director Bradley Bowman told the Washington Free Beacon. «[What] a lot of people don’t really track is that when another country buys a major weapons system, they are going to use it for 20-30 years. … There are huge diplomatic and national security benefits from that. When Russia gets those benefits, it’s not just a one-year thing but a decades-long thing.»

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