More Trouble in Turkey?

Surprise! The United States and Turkey are at odds once again. This time the United States have taken its reprimand of Turkey one step further by ordering a sanction. “The Trump administration will sanction Turkey for its purchase of a Russian surface-to-air missile system more than a year after Ankara took delivery of the weapons, a delay that so frustrated Congress that lawmakers made the sanctions mandatory.”

Before dissecting this, it is important to understand what a sanction is and what it means. In this instance, a sanction is defined as a penalty for disobeying a law or a rule. A sanction is a safe and sometimes devastating form of rebuttal or reprimand amongst two large countries. According to Jonas Elmerraji,“Economic sanctions are a way for large governments to exert their disapproval over one another. While wars are costly—both economically and politically—economic sanctions tend to be somewhat less tangible, at least for the country doing the sanctioning. But for the country being sanctioned, the results can be enormous and long-lasting” (Elmerraji). Wars are costly and devastating; however, an economic or trade sanction can have different but sometimes just as devastating consequences as a war.

However, this U.S. sanction on Turkey is not unprecedented;  the sanction comes in the wake of Turkey’s purchase of an S-400 missile. “The United States is imposing sanctions on the Republic of Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) pursuant to Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for knowingly engaging in a significant transaction with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s main arms export entity, by procuring the S-400 surface-to-air missile system.  The sanctions include a ban on all U.S. export licenses and authorizations to SSB and an asset freeze and visa restrictions on Dr. Ismail Demir, SSB’s president, and other SSB officers” (State Department). In other words, the United States has warned Turkey several times that its purchasing of the S-400 missile system was a danger to U.S. security. Not only would it put U.S. personnel in danger, but seeing how Turkey bought the missile system from Russia, this would add “substantial funds to Russia’s defense sector, as well as Russian access to the Turkish armed forces and defense industry” (State Department). Despite the warnings from the United States, Turkey purchased and tested the S-400. The United States sanction views Turkey as a regional security partner and urges Turkey to get rid of their possession of the S-400. However the United States will not stand for any, “significant transactions with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors” (State Department). Until Turkey gets rid of the S-400, the United States will continue to sanction them.

Despite the recent tensions and conflicts involving Turkey, Turkey is still an ally to NATO, which means that they are also an ally to the United States. According to authors from CNN, “”I wouldn’t be particularly surprised by the time elapsed at all. It is a sign of how carefully we have tried to think this through in ways that hopefully will allow us to preserve a very good and constructive relationship with our ally while yet sending the signal that there is certain behavior that we cannot accept.” It is obvious that neither country wants there to be dramatic consequences, and both hope to maintain a cordial and friendly relationship. It really comes down to the U.S. wanting to make a point that there is certain behavior which they will not tolerate, as well as Turkey doing what they feel is best for them. Most likely the sanction will not end in any wars or battles; however, since nothing is promised, it is important to keep both countries and their leaders in our prayers.



Works Cited

Elmerraji, J. (2020, February 1). Countries Sanctioned by the U.S. and Why. Retrieved fromhttps://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0410/countries-sanctioned-by-the-u.s.—and-why.aspx

Gauette, N., & Atwood, K. (2020, December 14). Trump moves to sanction Turkey over Russian missile defense system under pressure from Congress. Retrieved from https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/trump-moves-to-sanction-turkey-over-russian-missile-defense-system-under-pressure-from-congress/ar-BB1bVil3#image=1

The United States Sanctions Turkey Under CAATSA 231 – United States Department of State. (2020, December 14). Retrieved December 27, 2020, from https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-sanctions-turkey-under-caatsa-231/



  1. OliverMunzer/omunzer


  2. Argh. world trouble. cool.

  3. Fun times… especially for someone who lives in Turkey.