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Flake will push Turkey to reject Russian missile defense system


During the hearing, Flake criticized the purchase and firing test of the S-400 missile defense system by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from Russia, saying that “any purchase of additional Russian weapons will result in additional sanctions “.

Erdogan said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that he planned to purchase more Russian missile systems, despite objections from the United States and NATO allies.

“In the future, no one will be able to interfere with what kind of defense systems we acquire, from what country to what level,” he said. “No one can interfere with this. We are the only ones to make such decisions.

Flake, who left the Senate in 2019 after a term and then endorsed Biden as president, said he would push Erdogan to change course.

“If this is confirmed, I will systematically reiterate that eliminating this system is the way forward to lift CAATSA sanctions,” said Flake, referring to the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act which imposes sanctions. to Iran, North Korea and Russia. “I will also warn Turkey that any future Russian arms purchase risks triggering further sanctions from CAATSA, in addition to those already imposed.”

Flake introduced Turkey as an important economic partner with the United States and encouraged defense trade with his longtime NATO colleague who “keeps its army interoperable with NATO”. But Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.), chairman of the committee, said he opposes arms sales to Turkey unless there is a change in his position to buy the systems S-400 missile defense system.

“I don’t see any arms sales in Turkey unless there is a drastic change, on the S-400 and in the future,” Menendez said.

Turkey is the 32nd largest trading partner of the United States for goods, according to the office of the United States trade representative, totaling $ 20.7 billion in 2019. And the United States is Turkey’s fourth largest source of imports, totaling $ 10.4 billion, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity.

Menendez also blasted Turkey’s attack on press freedom and the aggressive crackdown on government critics.

“Erdogan’s crackdown is unworthy of a democracy and unworthy of a NATO ally. Democracies don’t jail journalists, intimidate academics, or infringe on religious freedom, ”Menendez said. “They are not giving up on their commitments to stop violence against women and they are not putting political opponents in jail.

Flake has promised to advocate against this authoritarianism.

“I am disturbed by Ankara’s democratic setback and the negative trajectory in terms of freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly in Turkey,” Flake said. “If this is confirmed, I will challenge Turkey to honor its national and international human rights commitments, while pushing Turkey to respect its status as a NATO ally.”

In a move east of the Mediterranean, when asked what he thought about allowing China to join the OECD, Markey said the bar should be “incredibly high”.

One of the main strengths of the OECD lies in the values ​​shared among its members: commitment to democracy, commitment to a market-oriented economic system. While some see the growth in OECD membership as an important measure, it is not, ”Markey said, stopping to say that China should be denied membership. “I think we should have an incredibly high bar when it comes to joining the OECD.”

Gitenstein, former ambassador to Romania during the Obama administration, said he would strive to build a unified position on energy issues as a step towards involving European allies in a multilateral approach to increase pressure on the Kremlin , while focusing on strengthening democracy and free markets in the EU.

“One of the main reasons I spoke to the President and now Secretary of State about my wish to work for this position is because I saw the power the EU can play on the fight against corruption and energy security if all EU actors work together, and in particular if the countries of Central and Eastern Europe – as I call the border regions – which are largely the targets of this effort ” , did he declare. “I want to work directly with them and directly with EU leaders on all these issues.”

McCain noted that his goal would include “intersecting access to water and agricultural needs” and expanding public-private partnerships to help tackle global food insecurity.


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