Turkey's testing of Russian S-400 missile system receives widespread American calls for sanctions

Russian-made S-400.

Turkey testing of the Russian-made S-400 air defense systems after missile struck three airborne targets over the Black Sea, in what was the first test of its kind after Ankara received the system in 2019, has received widespread calls from the American political establishment that sanctions need to be imposed.

The S-400 was tested from near the town of Sinope (Σινώπη, Turkish: Sinop) in the country’s north, a source in military and diplomatic circles told TASS on Friday.

"Three missiles of the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system were launched. All of them successfully hit the designated targets," the source said.

The confirmation to TASS indicates that Russian experts may have been involved in the tests. Information about the launch has not been released by the Turkish Defence Ministry.

The targets hit could be the Banshee Target drones which had earlier been transported to the test range along with the S-400 missile battery.

The Pentagon has condemned Turkey's reported test of a Russian-made missile system, a weapons system that US officials believe could pose a threat to the US and NATO.

U.S. Senator James Risch, who is also Chariman of the Senate Foreign Relations, described the S-400 testing as "unacceptable behavior" that "poses a direct threat to the F-35 and other U.S. and NATO allies systems."

"U.S. law requires sanctions against countries that continue to deepen their defense relationship with Russia, and the administration should send a strong signal that Turkey must divest its S-400s. My position on this is not new - President Erdogan must be accountable for his actions over the last several years," he added.

Representatives Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and William R. Keating, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment, also called upon the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to increase pressure to "push back against Turkey’s continued regional aggression and undemocratic behavior." In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the lawmakers urged Secretary Pompeo to curb Turkish aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Nagorno-Karabakh, to impose legally-required sanctions for Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 system, and to stand up for the democratic rights of the Turkish people.

Senator Bob Menendez said on Twitter that the "test by Turkey of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system is a stark reminder that Ankara is not deterred by simple meek pleas coming from the Trump administration. Erdogan only responds to actions, not words. The CAATSA mandate is clear and the Trump Admin must follow the law. Turkey must be sanctioned immediately for its purchase and use of this system."

Although pressure is increasing for Trump to sanction Turkey, this is highly unlikely considering the close friendship he has with the Turkish President, so close in fact it is often described as a "bromance."