US deciding how to punish ally Turkey over Russian arms deal

Politics
Mark Esper

In this July 8, 2019, photo, acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper waits for the arrival of Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the Pentagon. The Pentagon says that Esper expects to be formally nominated for the top job very soon, setting off a complicated leadership replacement shuffle at top Army, Navy and senior Defense Department levels(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is edging closer to crisis with NATO ally Turkey, now that it has started receiving components of a Russian-made air defense system in defiance of Trump administration warnings.

Washington has said the deal would trigger economic sanctions and deprive the Turks of America’s most advanced fighter jet, although administration officials on Friday announced no final decisions.

Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he would consult with his Turkish counterpart.

The Turkish Defense Ministry said the first shipment of the S-400 system arrived at a Turkish airfield on Friday, although it is not yet fully in place or ready for use. For months, Washington urged Turkey to buy the American-made Patriot air defense system instead and has repeatedly insisted that buying from Russia would result in economic and military penalties.

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