US confirms position on Turkey’s S-400, support for Kurds in Syria

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The Biden administration will not give in to the previous administration’s demand that NATO ally Turkey get rid of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system. The United States will also continue to support the Syrian Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG), a top State Department official assured lawmakers on July 21.

Ankara will be subject to new US sanctions if it buys additional Russian military hardware, Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told the Senate Foreign Affairs panel on July 21.

Lawmakers criticized president Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s policy, both foreign and domestic, during the hearing on Wednesday.

Committee members of both sides rejected Ankara’s actions against journalists and Kurdish politicians of the People’s Democratic Party, as well as Turkish military actions in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.

“These are the actions of a weak government, not a global power, and we must treat it as such,” Senator Bob Menendez said at the hearing.

The bipartisan rebuke came just a week after President Joe Biden dismissed former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake as his choice for the next US ambassador to Turkey.

Washington’s ties with its Anatolian ally deteriorated in 2017, when officials in Ankara signed a deal to buy Russia’s S-400 missile defense system. The move led Trump administration officials to expel Ankara from a group of countries with access to Lockheed-Martin’s advanced F-35 fighter jets, a move Nuland noted has cost Turkey economically.

Biden has vowed to hold US allies accountable for their human rights records, but Turkey — home to NATO’s second-largest military after the United States — has become increasingly strategic for the United States in recent years as Iran exports weapons and militias. to conflict zones in the Middle East and Russia seek influence in Eastern Europe.

Nuland also indicated that US support for the Syrian Kurdish-led YPG militias would continue despite Ankara’s objections.

“I think at this stage we have mostly agreed to disagree,” she said, adding that the Kurdish-led fighters have proved very effective in the internationally supported fighters. war to crush the Islamic State.

However, Nuland offered a glimmer of hope in US relations with Turkey, saying that: Erdogan’s offer deploy troops for secure airport of Kabul in Afghanistan is “extremely welcome” by the Biden administration.

“They know what the mission is,” Nuland told Congress.

The two countries are still in talks over Ankara’s offer to roughly leave the country 500 troops at Kabul . airport after NATO and US forces withdraw from Afghanistan, a move US officials have said is essential to maintaining international diplomacy in Kabul as the Taliban advance.

Erdogan confirmed on Tuesday that his government would comply with the offer if the United States offers support to the mission.

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