Congress has secretly blocked US arms sales to Turkey for nearly two years


Summary generated on August 12, 2020

    WASHINGTON - Four key members of Congress, either individually or collectively, have quietly frozen all major U.S. arms sales to Turkey for nearly two years in a move to pressure Ankara to abandon its Russian-built S-400 air defense system, Defense News has learned.

    Freezing arms sales is a diplomatic tool that the United States hasn't used against Turkey since 1978, after the Turkish military invaded Cyprus.

    Engel has refused to sign off on military sales to Turkey since mid 2018, while Risch has maintained his own hold since Turkey officially took possession of the S-400 in July 2019, according to multiple congressional sources.

    The current hold marks the first U.S. arms embargo on Turkey since 1975, after Turkey invaded Cyprus and Washington halted sales of weapons and military assistance to Turkey for three years.

    Even if Turkey fulfills U.S. government demands and arm sales resume, it remains to be seen whether Turkey will still line up to buy American weapons.

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