23:49 GMT30 October 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Two US Senators on Wednesday urged the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Ankara over reports that Turkey has activated its Russian-made S-400 air defense systems to detect F-16 fighter jets flown by NATO.

    "We write concerning public reports that Turkey has activated the radars of its Russian-made S400 anti-aircraft system, in order to detect US-made F-16 fighter jets returning from the Eunomia exercise conducted by France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus in late August in response to Turkey’s unwarranted aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean... Given this information, we again urge you to impose sanctions on Turkey as required by law," Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen and Republican Senator James Lankford said in a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

    The lawmakers have requested Pompeo provide information by 14 October on whether Turkey did activate the S-400 to detect F-16 fighter jets returning from the Eunomia exercise and if it also integrated the Link 16, NATO’s tactical data link, into the S-400 system, which they said could enable Russia to gather information on NATO allies.

    Earlier in the day, the Sputnik Turkey news agency reported that Ankara had deployed S-400 air defense systems to the Black Sea province of Samsun - suggesting that the activation was thought to be for testing. Turkish authorities have not made any official statements on the move.

    A US State Department spokesperson told Sputnik that the United States was aware of these reports and was deeply concerned, adding that the S-400 transaction puts Turkey at risk for potential sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

    In 2017, Russia agreed to sell S-400s to Ankara, provoking outrage among Turkey's NATO allies, particularly the United States.

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    Tags:
    US Senators, F-16, S-400, sanctions, Turkey, NATO, United States
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