Turkey Risks U.S. Sanctions Over Russian Missile-Defense-System Purchase

National Journal

04/17/2019

Michael V. Dobson

National Security, CFIUS, Sanctions + Export Controls

In The News

Officials of the Turkish government are lobbying the Trump Administration to not impose sanctions over Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile-defense system. The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) requires the president to impose sanctions on anyone who knowingly conducts a “significant transaction” with Russia’s defense or intelligence sectors.

The White House could, however, argue that Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 does not constitute a “significant transaction,” thereby avoiding CAATSA altogether. In National Journal’s “Turkey Risks U.S. Sanctions Over Russian Missile-Defense-System Purchase”, Morrison & Foerster of counsel Michael Dobson states that, “Ultimately, State is going to do like OFAC does in these cases, where it tries to leave itself broad discretion, and doesn't hang its hat on one or two criteria, so that you can account for things like foreign policy considerations, Turkey being a NATO ally ... it's not solely about the bottom-line cost, and how significant the defense system is.”

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