Washington Post: Dispute between Trump, Republicans on US sanctions on Ankara

President Donald Trump and a top Republican senator were deeply divided in a closed-door meeting at the White House over sanctions on Turkey over the purchase of Russian missiles designed primarily to target US aircraft, according to officials familiar with the matter.

The newspaper pointed out that the dispute has occurred over the duration and severity of the sanctions on Ankara, where Republicans insist on applying the maximum sanctions on Turkey under the law to punish America's opponents, "Justa."

Republicans in the Senate, led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James E. Jones, Rish, Trump not to waive the mandatory sanctions against Turkey for the purchase of a Russian-made S-400 system, which they argue will endanger NATO security.

Last week, Trump announced it would cancel Turkey's purchase of more than 100 F-35 fighter jets in response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's acceptance of the Russian regime, but did not amount to further sanctions against Turkey for doing business with the defense industry Russian.

Instead, according to the people at the meeting, Trump appeared to be advocating negotiations with Turkey rather than imposing harsh sanctions - which led to a sharp debate between Rich and Trump, according to people familiar with the closed meeting.

"Everybody in the room knew there were many options and there was a sharp debate on all aspects of the issue," said Susan Werras, a spokeswoman of Rich late on Tuesday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Trump appeared uninterested and tried to talk at the meeting about other topics far from the main issue of harsh sanctions on Ankara, which led to one of the Republicans asking Trump to focus on sanctions against Turkey.

Trump's stand contrasts with senators from both parties who insisted that the United States should follow the sanctions it warned months ago that Turkey would face to accept the S-400.

They agree with Foreign Minister Pompeo and several Senate Republicans that sanctions should be imposed on Turkey in accordance with the law," a group of senior Senate Democrats who did not attend the White House meeting reiterated in a letter Tuesday to Trump.

"Without decisive action by the United States, our position in NATO will be shaken and the strength of the sanctions regime against Russia will be set back," wrote the Democratic Group, led by Senator Robert Menendez, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

But according to many Republicans who came out of the meeting, the discussion focused more on "how we can negotiate with Erdogan," as Sen. John Hoven put it, rather than how the United States could be punished.

"What the president is trying to do is take a much broader approach to this," said Senator David Perdue, another ally of Trump, after the White House meeting. "If you look only at what Turkey is trying to do now," he said.

Turkey will be the first NATO ally to be punished by the United States if the government does not try to waive the punitive measures approved by Congress in 2017 to punish entities to do business with the Russian defense industry. Both Republicans and Democrats have indicated that he was the first NATO ally to buy a large weapons system from Moscow.

(T/S)

ANHA


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