The White House has invited all Republican senators to a meeting next week to discuss potential sanctions on Turkey after President Trump said the United States will cancel the purchase of F-35 fighter jets by the country after it acquired a Russian antimissile defense system.
The meeting, scheduled for Tuesday at 4 p.m., was confirmed by two officials familiar with the outreach and a copy of the invitation viewed by The Washington Post. It is scheduled to be held in the State Dining Room of the White House and is limited to the senators only.
The topic listed on the invite, distributed to senators “on behalf of President Trump,” is “Turkey sanctions.”
Trump announced the cancellation of the purchase Tuesday, saying it was “not a fair situation” and arguing that Turkey was forced into the purchase of the Russian S-400 system because the Obama administration would not sell the U.S.-made Patriot system to the country.
But some Republican senators are advocating for a more forceful response to the purchase by Turkey — a member of NATO — of the Russian defense system. The president and other administration officials indicated this week that it had not ruled out sanctions.
To that end, Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Todd C. Young (R-Ind.) introduced a resolution this week that condemns the purchase and calls on the administration to impose sanctions against Turkey. The resolution also outlines the “need for NATO member states to discuss the future role of Turkey in NATO given its engagement with Russia.”
In a statement, Scott said Turkey’s purchase “threatens our national security and the stability” of the alliance.
“We cannot allow Russia — which tries to interfere in elections across the globe, supports [Nicolás] Maduro’s genocide in Venezuela, and threatens the peace and security of democratic nations — to interfere in Turkey,” he said. “It is our responsibility to protect the safety of American families and our allies, and we must call upon members of NATO to determine if Turkey presents a danger to the alliance.”
A 2017 law, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, calls for the United States to punish any entity that has “significant” dealings with the Russian defense industry.