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Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations In Brief

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Turkey: Background and, U.S. Relations, and Sanctions In Brief

Updated August 14October 18, 2019 (R44000)
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Contents

Summary

Recent U.S.-Turkey tensions and increased Turkish cooperation with Russia have raised questions about Turkey's commitment to NATO and overall strategic orientation. To meet its security, economic, and energy needs, Turkey cooperates with the United States and several other countries whose respective interests may conflict. Events in Syria and a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey appear to have led Turkey's president

Summary

Some specific Turkish actions have raised questions about Turkey's commitment to NATO and overall strategic orientation. In 2019, Turkey's incursion into northeastern Syria and acceptance of components for a Russian S-400 surface-to-air defense system have brought bilateral tensions to crisis levels, and contributed to Trump Administration sanctions on Turkey and the possibility of additional sanctions or other actions from Congress. Events in Syria and a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey appear to have led Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to act more independently from the United States and cultivate closer ties with Russia and its President Vladimir Putin.

Turkey faces a number of political and economic challenges that inform its relations with the United States. Observers voice concerns about Erdogan's growing authoritarianism, and question how he will govern a polarized electorate and deal with the foreign actors who can affect Turkey's financial solvency and regional security. To meet its security, economic, and energy needs, Turkey cooperates with the United States and several other countries whose respective interests may conflict. Without significant rents from natural resources, Turkey's economic performance is largely dependent on maintaining diversified global trade and investment ties, including with the West. The following are major points of concern in the U.S.-Turkey relationship.

Turkey's October 2019 incursion into northeastern Syria. Events in Syria have fed U.S.-Turkey tensions, particularly regarding Kurdish-led militias that partnered with Recep Tayyip Erdogan to act more independently from the United States and cultivate closer ties with Russia and its President Vladimir Putin. Turkey's large, diversified economy and increased political and military profile gives it significant regional influence, but also has contributed to rivalries with other U.S. partners such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, and Greece.

The following are some current points of concern in the U.S.-Turkey relationship.

S-400 acquisition from Russia, removal from the F-35 program, and possible CAATSA sanctions. Shortly after Russia began delivering an S-400 air defense system to Turkey in July 2019, the United States announced that Turkey would not receive the 100 F-35 aircraft it had planned to purchase and would no longer manufacture components for F-35s. U.S.-Turkey tensions on the issue—particularly in light of Russia's involvement—could have broad implications for defense cooperation, bilateral relations, and Turkey's role in NATO. The S-400 deal also could trigger U.S. sanctions under Section 231 of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA, P.L. 115-44), possibly exacerbating difficulties in Turkey's economy. According to some reports, President Trump may delay sanctions while pursuing a deal potentially allowing Turkey to remain in the F-35 program if it (1) agrees not to use the S-400 and (2) acquires a U.S. Patriot air defense system. Based on a July 2019 statement from Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Turkish activation of the S-400 may trigger sanctions. Some Members of Congress have urged President Trump to impose CAATSA sanctions on Turkey without delay. Reportedly, Turkish President Erdogan has threatened to retaliate against any sanctions, including by withdrawing Turkey from NATO and kicking the United States out of Incirlik Air Base. Pending legislation would prohibit the transport of F-35s to Turkey absent an executive branch certification indicating that Turkey does not plan to take delivery of or keep the S-400.

Syria and the Kurds. Turkey's political stances and military operations in Syria have fed U.S.-Turkey tensions, particularly regarding Kurdish-led militias supported by the United States against the Islamic State over Turkey's strong objections. Those Kurdish-led militias have links with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization that originated in Turkey and wageshas waged an on-and-off insurgency against the Turkish government while using safe havens in both Syria and Iraq. President Trump announced in December 2018 that U.S. troops would withdraw from Syria, but subsequent adjustments to the size and scope of a continued U.S. military presence have complicated efforts to coordinate U.S. and Turkish actions. In August 2019, the United States and Turkey agreed to set up a joint operations center to manage a safe zone along Syria's border with Turkey, though questions remain about the zone's geographical scope, who will patrol it, its effect on Syrian Kurds, and whether some portion of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey will be able to resettle there.

Turkey's domestic trajectory and financial distress. Although Turkey retains democratic institutions, President Erdogan rules in a largely authoritarian manner, with his formal powers further consolidated in June 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections. A number of developments (a globally stronger dollar, rule of law concerns and political uncertainty, significant corporate debt) led to a precipitous drop in the value of Turkey's currency during 2018, around the same time the country entered into a recession. The economy has continued to struggle in 2019, amid concerns about Turkey's financial position and Erdogan's influence over Turkey's central bank. Local elections in March and June 2019 against the backdrop of these economic concerns yielded some significant losses for Erdogan's political party, especially in Istanbul (Turkey's largest city), though it is unclear what the practical impact will be on Erdogan's rule.

Going forward, relations between the United States and Turkey will take place with Turkey facing a number of political and economic challenges. Observers question how Erdogan will govern a polarized electorate and deal with the foreign actors who can affect Turkey's financial solvency, regional security, and political influence. U.S. officials and lawmakers can refer to Turkey's complex history, geography, domestic dynamics, and international relationships in evaluating how to encourage Turkey to align its policies with U.S. interests.


Introduction

This report provides background information and analysis on the following topics:

  • Various aspects of U.S.-Turkey relations, including (1) Turkey's strategic orientation; (2) U.S./NATO cooperation and how a Turkish purchase of an S-400 air defense system from Russia has affected Turkey's participation in the F-35 aircraft program and could lead to sanctions; and (3) the situation in northern Syria, including with Kurdish-led militias. The S-400/F-35 issue has attracted close congressional scrutiny, and how the United States and Turkey handle the issue could have broad implications for bilateral relations.
  • Domestic Turkish developments, including politics under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's largely authoritarian and polarizing rule, and significant economic concerns.

For additional information, see CRS Report R41368, Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti and Clayton Thomas.

Figure 1. Turkey at a Glance

Geography

Area: 783,562 sq km (302,535 sq. miles), slightly larger than Texas

People

Population: 81,257,239 (2018) Most populous cities: Istanbul 14.8 mil, Ankara 5.3 mil, Izmir 4.2 mil, Bursa 2.9 mil, Antalya 2.3 mil (2016)

% of Population 14 or Younger: 24.3%

Ethnic Groups: Turks 70%-75%; Kurds 19%; Other minorities 7%-12% (2016)

Religion: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), Others (mainly Christian and Jewish) 0.2%

Literacy: 96.2% (male 98.8%, female 93.6%) (2016)

Economy

GDP Per Capita (at purchasing power parity): $27,391

Real GDP Growth: -1.7%

Inflation: 16.1%

Unemployment: 14.3%

Budget Deficit as % of GDP: 2.3%

Public Debt as % of GDP: 28.0%

Current Account Deficit as % of GDP: 0.7%

International reserves: $92 billion

Sources: Graphic created by CRS. Map boundaries and information generated by Hannah Fischer using Department of State boundaries (2011); Esri (2014); ArcWorld (2014); DeLorme (2014). Fact information (2019 estimates unless otherwise specified) from International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database; Turkish Statistical Institute; Economist Intelligence Unit; and Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook.

Turkey's Strategic Orientation: The United States, Russia, and Others

Numerous points of tension have raised questions within the United States and Turkey about the two countries' alliance, as well as Turkey's commitment to NATO and Western orientation. For their part, Turkish leaders may bristle because they feel like Turkey is treated as a junior partner, and they have arguably sought greater foreign policy diversification through stronger relationships with more countries.1

A number of considerations drive the complicated dynamics behindrefuges in both Syria and Iraq. In October 2019, Turkey's military (and allied Syrian opposition groups) entered northeastern Syria after President Trump ordered a pullback of U.S. Special Forces shortly after a call with President Erdogan. The declared aims of what Turkey calls Operation Peace Spring (OPS) are to target "terrorists"—both the Kurdish-led militias and the Islamic State, or (IS/ISIL/ISIS)—and create a "safe zone" for the possible resettlement of some of the approximately 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. After Turkey gained control of some largely Arab-populated sectors of Syria previously controlled by Kurdish-led militias, the Kurds reportedly reached arrangements with Syria's government that may allow it to regain control over much of northeastern Syria—raising several questions about Syria's future, including how to prevent an IS resurgence.

U.S. sanctions and other U.S./NATO actions or options in light of OPS. Via Executive Order 13894 on October 14, the Trump Administration authorized various sanctions on Turkey and actors transacting with it in connection with OPS. The Treasury Department designated for sanctions key Turkish ministers and ministries (including defense and energy), and it has broad authority to designate other actors. This authority, along with other U.S. actions affecting bilateral trade, may be intended to encourage a diplomatic resolution. Vice President Pence helped arrange for a conditional pause in OPS on October 17 that, if it becomes a permanent halt, would allow for a Turkish-patrolled safe zone and a reversal of U.S. sanctions designations. Some Members of Congress have introduced bills seeking stronger sanctions against Turkey in response to OPS, including on U.S. and foreign arms transactions and on Turkish financial institutions. On October 16, the House passed H.J.Res. 77—a resolution condemning both OPS and some Administration actions—by a vote of 354-60. The crisis over OPS has fueled speculation about the future of allied cooperation with Turkey within NATO, specifically regarding the status of reported U.S. military assets—such as possible tactical nuclear weapons—in Turkey. Separately, on October 16, a U.S. Attorney's office indicted Turkey's Halkbank for violations of U.S. laws relating to Iran sanctions, in a case that has been pending for years and is sensitive for President Erdogan.

S-400 acquisition from Russia, removal from the F-35 program and possible sanctions. Shortly after Russia began delivering an S-400 air defense system to Turkey in July 2019, the United States announced that Turkey would not receive the 100 F-35 aircraft it had planned to purchase and would no longer manufacture components for F-35s. U.S.-Turkey tensions on the issue could have broad implications for defense cooperation, bilateral relations, and Turkey's role in NATO. The S-400 deal also could trigger U.S. sanctions under existing law. According to some reports, President Trump may delay sanctions while pursuing a deal potentially allowing Turkey to remain in the F-35 program if it (1) agrees not to use the S-400 and (2) acquires a U.S. Patriot air defense system. In July, President Erdogan reportedly threatened to retaliate against S-400-related sanctions, including by withdrawing Turkey from NATO and ejecting the United States from Incirlik Air Base.

Introduction

This report provides background information and analysis on the following topics:

  • Turkey's strategic orientation toward the United States and Russia, and how that affects Turkish cooperation with the United States and NATO;
  • Turkey's October 2019 incursion into Syria, including the effect on Syrian Kurds who have helped the United States counter the Islamic State (IS/ISIL/ISIS);
  • Trump Administration sanctions and other actions, possible additional sanctions from Congress, and other options after Turkey's October incursion into Syria;
  • Issues surrounding Turkey's purchase of a Russian S-400 surface-to-air defense system, its removal from the F-35 aircraft program, and possible sanctions under existing legislation.
  • Domestic Turkish developments, including politics under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's largely authoritarian and polarizing rule, and some economic concerns.
For additional information, see CRS Report R41368, Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti and Clayton Thomas. See Figure A-1 for a map and key facts and figures about Turkey. Turkey's Strategic Orientation Overview

Numerous points of tension have raised questions within the United States and Turkey about the two countries' alliance, as well as Turkey's commitment to NATO and a Western orientation. For their part, Turkish leaders may bristle because they feel like Turkey is treated as a junior partner, and they arguably have sought greater foreign policy diversification through stronger relationships with more countries.1

A number of complicated dynamics drive Turkey's international relationships. Turkey's history as both a regional power and an object of great power aggression translates into wide popularity for nationalistic political actions and discourse.2 Moreover, Turkey's cooperative relationships with countries whose respective interests may conflict involve a balancing act. Threats from Syria and Iraq and the regional roles of the United States, Russia, and Iran further complicate Turkey's situation.

Also, lacking significant rents from natural resources, Turkey's economic performance is largely dependent on maintaining diversified global trade and investment ties, including with the West.

Concerns among Turkish leaders that U.S. policy might hinder Turkey's security, which date back at least to the 1991 Gulf War,3 have been fueled during this decade by the following developmentsbut the following developments have fueled them since 2010:

  • Close U.S. military cooperation against the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS) with Syrian Kurdish forces linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization that has waged an on-and-off insurgency against the Turkish government since the 1980s while using safe havensrefuges in both Syria and Iraq.
  • Turkey's view that the United States supported or acquiesced
  • Perceived U.S. support for or acquiescence to events during post-2011 turmoil in Egypt and Syria that undermined Sunni Islamist figures tied to Turkey.
  • Many Western leaders' criticism of President Erdogan for ruling in an increasingly authoritarian manner. Erdogan's sensitivity to Western concerns was exacerbated by a 2016 coup attempt that Erdogan blames on Fethullah Gulen, a former Turkish imam who leads a worldwide socioreligious movement and lives in the United States.

PerhapsTurkey has thus arguably sought a more independent course than at any time since joining NATO in 1952, perhaps partly in response to Turkey's concerns that some U.S. policies might not serve its interests, Turkey has sought a more independent course. Despite Turkey's. Despite having a long history of discord with Russia, andincluding some ongoing disagreements between the two countries onabout Syria, Turkey may be disposed to cooperate more with Russia in hopes of reducing threats that Turkey faces, influencing regional political outcomes, and decreasing Turkey's military and economic reliance on the West. After a low in Turkey-Russiapoint was reached in Turkish-Russian relations in 2015-2016 (brought about by the Turkish downing of a Russian plane near the Turkey-Syria border and Russia's temporary imposition of sanctions) Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin have cultivated closer ties. Putin showed support for Erdogan during the 2016 coup attempt, and subsequently allowed Turkey to carry out military operations in northern Syria that helped roll back Kurdish territorial control and reduce refugee flows near Turkey's border.4

Turkey's more independent foreign policy also may be reflected in its efforts to establish military, political, and economic linkages with countries in its surrounding regions—sometimes explained by reference to shared Muslim identity or historical ties dating back to the Ottoman Empire. However, Turkey's efforts to increase its influence and offer itself as a "model" for other regional states appear to have been set back by a number of developments since 2011: (1) conflict and instability that engulfed the region and Turkey's own southern border, (2) Turkey's failed effort to help Muslim Brotherhood-aligned groups gain lasting power in Syria and North Africa, and (3) domestic polarization accompanied by government repression.5

Additionally, Turkey's regional ambitions have contributed to difficulties with some of its neighbors. Sunni Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Egypt regard Turkey suspiciously because of the Turkish government's Islamist sympathies and close relationship with Qatar.6 Turkey's rivalry with these Arab states is reflected by their support for opposing sides in Libya's civil war,7 as well as by maritime facilities that Turkey has or plans to have in Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, and northern Cyprus.8 Turkey maintains relations with Israel, but these previously close ties have become distant and—at times—contentious during Erdogan's time as prime minister and president. Turkey's dispute with the Republic of Cyprus over Eastern Mediterranean energy exploration has brought the Republic of Cyprus, Israel, and Greece closer together—a development supported by the United States9—and has led to Western criticism of Turkey and some specific European Union measures aimed at discouraging Turkish drilling near Cyprus.10 Turkey, for its part, has called on the Republic of Cyprus to agree to energy revenue sharing with Turkish Cypriots who are represented by a Turkey-supported de facto government in the northern one-third of the island.

U.S./NATO Cooperation with Turkey

Overview

Turkey's location near several global hotspots makes the continuing availability of its territory for the stationing and transport of arms, cargo, and personnel valuable for the United States and NATO. From Turkey's perspective, NATO's traditional value has been to mitigate its concerns about encroachment by neighbors. Turkey initially turned to the West largely as a reaction to aggressive post-World War II posturing by the Soviet Union. In addition to Incirlik Air Base near the southern Turkish city of Adana, other key U.S./NATO sites include an early warning missile defense radar in eastern Turkey and a NATO ground forces command in Izmir. Turkey also controls access to and from the Black Sea through its straits pursuant to the Montreux Convention of 1936.

Current tensions have fueled discussion from the U.S. perspective about the advisability of continued U.S./NATO use of Turkish bases. The Trump Administration reportedly reduced the U.S. military presence at Incirlik in 2018 while contemplating broader reductions in Turkey.11 There are historical precedents for such changes. On a number of occasions, the United States has withdrawn military assets from Turkey or Turkey has restricted U.S. use of its territory or airspace. These include the following:

  • 1962—Cuban Missile Crisis. The United States withdrew its nuclear-tipped Jupiter missiles from Turkey as part of the secret deal to end this crisis with the Soviet Union.
  • 1975—Cyprus. Turkey closed most U.S. defense and intelligence installations in Turkey during the U.S. arms embargo that Congress imposed in response to Turkey's military intervention in Cyprus.
  • 2003—Iraq. A Turkish parliamentary vote did not allow the United States to open a second front from Turkey in the Iraq war.

Some of the plotters of an unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016 apparently used Incirlik air base, causing temporary disruptions of some U.S. military operations. The attempted coup and subsequent disruptions may have eroded some trust between the two countries, while also raising U.S. questions about Turkey's stability and the safety and utility of Turkish territory for U.S. and NATO assets. As a result of these questions and U.S.-Turkey tensions, some observers have advocated exploring alternative basing arrangements in the region.12

The cost to the United States of finding a replacement for Incirlik and other sites in Turkey would likely depend on a number of variables including the functionality and location of alternatives, where future U.S. military engagements may happen, and the cost of moving or expanding U.S. military operations elsewhere. While an August 2018 report cited a Department of Defense (DOD) spokesperson as saying that the United States is not leaving Incirlik,13 some reports suggest that expanded or potentially expanded U.S. military presences in Greece and Jordan might be connected with concerns about Turkey.14

An assessment of the costs and benefits to the United States of a U.S./NATO presence in Turkey, and of potential changes in U.S./NATO posture, revolves to a significant extent around three questions:

  • To what extent does strengthening Turkey relative to other regional actors serve U.S. interests?
  • To what extent does the United States rely on the use of Turkish territory or airspace to secure and protect U.S. interests?
  • To what extent does Turkey rely on U.S./NATO support, both politically and functionally, for its security and regional influence?

S-400 Acquisition from Russia and Removal from F-35 Aircraft Program

U.S.-Turkey tensions over Turkey's ongoing acquisition of a Russian S-400 air defense system and the resulting U.S. removal of Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program could have broad implications for bilateral relations and defense cooperation. It also could impact Turkey's role in NATO.

In July 2019, Turkey reportedly began taking delivery of Russian S-400 components at Murted air base near Ankara, Turkey's capital.15 The first batch of missiles for the S-400 system is scheduled to arrive in Turkey in September 2019, and the head of Turkey's defense procurement agency has said that Turkey expects the system to be operational sometime this year.16 President Erdogan has said that the system will be fully deployed by April 2020.17

In response to the beginning of S-400 deliveries to Turkey, the Trump Administration announced on July 17 that it was removing Turkey from participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.18 Turkey had planned to purchase 100 U.S.-origin F-35s and has been one of eight original consortium partners in the development and industrial production of the aircraft.19 If Turkey does not receive the F-35, it might turn to other sources—possibly including Russia—to fill its capability need for next-generation aircraft and other major defense purchases.20

End of Turkish Involvement: Impact on the F-35 Program

Because the F-35 program features multinational industrial inputs, unwinding Turkey's involvement could present financial and logistical challenges. Turkish companies have been involved in about 6%-7% of the supply chain—building displays, wiring, fuselage structures, and other parts—for F-35s provided to all countries.21

With some lead time to anticipate Turkey's possible removal from the program, the F-35 joint program office within DOD has identified alternative suppliers for the Turkish subsystems.22 According to Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord, existing contracts with Turkish suppliers for over 900 parts would reportedly wind down by March 2020, and the United States "is spending between $500 million and $600 million in non-recurring engineering in order to shift the supply chain."23 According to an April 2019 statement from the joint program office's director, Vice Admiral Mathias Winter, "the evaluation of Turkey stopping would be between [a] 50- and 75-airplane impact over a two-year period."24 It is unclear whether the United States or the F-35 consortium could be liable for financial penalties beyond refunding Turkey's initial investment in the program, an estimated $1.5 billion.25

Additionally, the depot to service engines for European countries' F-35s was initially slated to be in Turkey. However, according to Under Secretary Lord, "There are two other European MRO&Us [maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade facilities] that can absorb the volume with no issue whatsoever."26

The CEO of Lockheed Martin, the primary contractor for the F-35, said in May 2019 that if Turkey did not purchase the 100 aircraft, the consortium would not have difficulty finding willing buyers for them. Two possible buyers include Japan and Poland.27

In explaining the U.S. decision to remove Turkey from the F-35 program, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said, "Turkey cannot field a Russian intelligence collection platform [within the S-400 system] in proximity to where the F-35 program makes, repairs and houses the F-35. Much of the F-35's strength lies in its stealth capabilities, so the ability to detect those capabilities would jeopardize the long-term security of the F-35 program."28 A security concern regarding the F-35 could compromise its global marketability and effectiveness.29 While some Russian radars in Syria may have already monitored Israeli-operated F-35s,30 intermittent passes at long ranges reportedly might not yield data on the aircraft as conclusive as the more voluminous data available if an S-400 in Turkey could routinely monitor F-35s.31 However, one U.S.-based analyst has said that U.S. concerns are "overblown" and that Russian tracking of F-35s in Turkey would not significantly differ from monitoring elsewhere.32

While Under Secretary Lord said that Turkey's S-400 purchase is inconsistent with its NATO commitments and will negatively affect interoperability, she also stated that Turkey "remains a close NATO ally and our military-to-military relationship remains strong."33

CAATSA Sanctions?

The Turkey-Russia S-400 transaction could trigger the imposition of U.S. sanctions under Section 231 of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA, P.L. 115-44). It appears that President Trump is examining the question of sanctions but has not reached specific conclusions.34 On July 12, the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees issued a joint statement urging the President "to fully implement sanctions as required by law" under CAATSA.35 In late July, President Trump reportedly asked a group of Republican Senators for flexibility on sanctions implementation regarding Turkey while pursuing a deal potentially allowing Turkey to remain in the F-35 program if it (1) agrees not to use the S-400 and (2) acquires a U.S. Patriot air defense system.36 Turkish officials maintain that the S-400 is a "done deal" and any purchase of Patriot would be in addition to the S-400.37 However, some analysts and former U.S. officials maintain that Turkey's S-400 acquisition may not be final, or that a verifiable arrangement that prevents S-400 data gathering on the F-35 could allow the two systems to coexist in Turkey.38

Senator Lindsey Graham reportedly advised Turkey's foreign minister in late July that if Turkey does not activate the S-400 system, it may not face U.S. sanctions.39 Shortly thereafter, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo seemed to reinforce this point in an interview,40 and the State Department spokesperson said that the CAATSA legislation does not mandate a timetable for sanctions.41

President Erdogan—amid a financial crisis in Turkey (see "Economic Concerns" below)—has appealed directly to President Trump to soften any penalties that Turkey might face.42 According to one media report, Erdogan has threatened to retaliate against any sanctions, including by withdrawing Turkey from NATO and kicking the United States out of Incirlik air base.43

Turkey's Rationale and Implications for NATO

In announcing its decision in December 2017 to acquire S-400s instead of U.S. or European alternatives, Turkey claimed that it turned to Russia because NATO allies rebuffed Turkish attempts to purchase an air defense system from them.44 Turkey also cited various practical reasons, including cost, technology sharing, and territorial defense coverage.45 However, one analysis asserted that the S-400 deal would not involve technology transfer, would not defend Turkey from ballistic missiles (because the system would not have access to NATO early-warning systems), and could weaken rather than strengthen Turkey's geopolitical position by increasing Turkish dependence on Russia.46 Although Turkish officials later said that the deal would include technology transfer,47 a Russian observer analyzing terms of the deal suggested that co-production—if it were to happen—probably would not involve meaningful technology transfer.48

For some observers, the S-400 issue raises the possibility that Russia could take advantage of U.S.-Turkey friction to undermine the NATO alliance.49 In April 2019, Vice President Mike Pence asked publicly whether Turkey wants "to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history" or "risk the security of that partnership."50 In 2013, Turkey reached a preliminary agreement to purchase a Chinese air and missile defense system, but later (in 2015) withdrew from the deal, perhaps partly due to concerns voiced within NATO, as well as China's reported reluctance to share technology.51

A number of analysts have sought to explain possible political motivation for Turkey's actions on the S-400 deal by citing Turkey's willingness to act more independently in the context of U.S.-Turkey tensions and other regional trends (see "Turkey's Strategic Orientation: The United States, Russia, and Others" above). Some have raised the possibility that Turkey may seek to defend against U.S.-origin aircraft of the type used by elements within the Turkish military during the 2016 coup attempt.52 Other contributing factors to the S-400 decision may include nationalistic strains within Turkish domestic politics,53 as well as Turkey's desires for more diversified sources of arms procurement due partly to its experience from the 1970s U.S. arms embargo over Cyprus.54 According to one analyst, "the Turkish government seems determined to remain equidistant between Russia and [the] US in the near future, despite the fact that Turkey's economy and institutions are anchored in its century-old Western orientation."55 The same analyst asserts that U.S. policymakers face a dilemma in finding a way to discourage Turkey-Russia defense cooperation without either harming Turkey's economic stability or pushing the country closer to Russia.56

Additional Relevant Legislation

In 2018, Congress enacted legislation that subjected Turkey's possible F-35 purchase to greater scrutiny. Under Section 1282 of the FY2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 115-232), DOD submitted a report to Congress in November 2018 on a number of issues affecting U.S.-Turkey defense cooperation, including the S-400 and F-35.57

Much of the report was classified, but an unclassified summary said that the U.S. government has told Turkey that purchasing the S-400 would have "unavoidable negative consequences for U.S.-Turkey bilateral relations, as well as Turkey's role in NATO."58 The listed consequences included potential CAATSA sanctions, as well as risk to Turkish participation in the F-35 program and to broader bilateral defense industrial cooperation.59

Congress has mandated that no U.S. funds can be used to transfer F-35s to Turkish territory until DOD submits a report—required no later than November 1, 2019—updating the November 2018 report mentioned above. Pursuant to Section 7046(d)(2) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (P.L. 116-6), the update is to include a "detailed description of plans for the imposition of sanctions, if appropriate," for an S-400 purchase. In June 2019, the House passed H.Res. 372, a nonbinding resolution calling for consequences if Turkey does not cancel the S-400 deal.

In 2019, five separate provisions have either passed a house of Congress or been reported by a committee (H.R. 2500, S. 1790, S. 1102, two in H.R. 1740) that would each prevent the use of funds to transfer F-35s to Turkey. Most of the provisions (other than the defense appropriations provision in H.R. 1740) are subject to waiver if the executive branch can certify in some manner that Turkey does not plan to take delivery of or keep the S-400.

Syria

Turkey's involvement in Syria's conflict since 2011, which includes a post-2016 military presence in parts of the country, has been complicated and costly. During that time, Turkey's priorities in Syria appear to have evolved. While Turkey still officially calls for Syrian President Bashar al Asad to leave power, it has engaged in a mix of coordination and competition with Russia and Iran (both Asad supporters) on some matters since intervening militarily in Syria starting in August 2016. Turkey may want to protect its borders, project influence, promote commerce, and counter other actors' regional ambitions.

Turkey's chief objective has been to thwart the PKK-linked Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) from establishing an autonomous area along Syria's northern border with Turkey. Turkey considers the YPG and its political counterpart, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), to be the top threat to Turkish security, given the boost the YPG/PYD's military and political success could provide to the PKK's insurgency within Turkey.60 The YPG plays a leading role in the umbrella group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which also includes Arabs and other non-Kurdish elements.

Since 2014, the SDF has been the main U.S. ground force partner against the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS). Even though Turkey is also a part of the anti-IS coalition, U.S. operations in support of the SDF—largely based from Turkish territory—have fueled U.S.-Turkey tension because of Turkey's view of the YPG as a threat.61 As part of SDF operations to expel the Islamic State from its main Syrian redoubt in Raqqah in 2017, the U.S. government pursued a policy of arming the YPG directly while preventing the use of such arms against Turkey,62 and then-Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis announced an end to the direct arming of the YPG near the end of the year.63 Following the Raqqah operation, U.S. officials contrasted their long-standing alliance with Turkey with their current but temporary cooperation with the YPG.64

After Turkey moved against IS-held territory in northern Syria (Operation Euphrates Shield, August 2016-March 2017) as a way to prevent the YPG from consolidating its rule across much of the border area between the two countries, Turkey launched an offensive directly against the YPG in Afrin district in January 2018. In Afrin and the other areas Turkey has occupied since 2016 with the help of allied Syrian opposition militias, Turkey has organized local councils and invested in infrastructure.65 Questions persist about how deeply Turkey will influence future governance in these areas.

President Trump announced in December 2018 that the United States would withdraw the approximately 2,000 U.S. troops stationed in Syria, but subsequent Administration statements indicate that at least several hundred U.S. troops remain and will do so indefinitely. The future of the U.S. military presence in Syria could have important implications for Turkey and the YPG. Turkey has refused to guarantee the YPG's safety, with Erdogan insisting that Turkey should have a free hand with the YPG and other groups it considers to be terrorists.66 Various analyses surmise that a U.S. troop withdrawal could lead the YPG toward an accommodation with Russia and the Syrian government.67

In January, amid reports that the U.S. military had begun preparing for withdrawal,68 President Trump tweeted that he would "devastate Turkey economically" if it hit the Kurds, and at the same time proposed the creation of a 20-mile-deep "safe zone" on the Syria side of the border.69 U.S. officials favor having a Western coalition patrol any kind of buffer zone inside the Syrian border, with some U.S. support, while Turkey wants its forces and Syrian rebel partners to take that role.70 In August 2019, the United States and Turkey agreed to set up a joint operations center to manage a safe zone, though questions remain about the zone's geographical scope, who will patrol it, its effect on the SDF/YPG, and whether Syrian refugees in Turkey will be able to resettle there.71 Turkish military action could cause the SDF to shift its forces, possibly undermining its ongoing efforts at guarding tens of thousands of IS prisoners and their families.72

Syrian Refugees in Turkey

In addition to its ongoing military activities in Syria, Turkey hosts about 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees—more than any other country. Turkish officials estimate that they have spent more than $37 billion on refugee assistance.73 According to these official estimates, the Syrian refugee population in Turkey increased in 2018 even though around 291,000 refugees returned to Syria.74

With the large-scale return of refugees to Syria uncertain, Turkey has focused on how to manage their presence in Turkish society by addressing their legal status, basic needs, employment, education, and impact on local communities.75 Problems in the Turkish economy may be fueling some negative views of the refugees among Turkish citizens—especially in areas where refugees are concentrated—and some violence between the two groups has been reported.76

How U.S.-Turkey coordination plays out in northeastern Syria could influence Turkey's presence in western Syria, particularly in key contested areas like Idlib province, where Russian and Syrian government forces operate in proximity to Turkish forces as part of a "de-escalation zone" agreement reached between Turkey and Russia in September 2018. Turkey-backed forces stationed at points around the province appear to have failed to prevent territorial gains by Al Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS) jihadists who also oppose the Syrian government.

Domestic Turkish Developments

Political Developments Under Erdogan's Rule

President Erdogan has ruled Turkey since becoming prime minister in 2003. After Erdogan became president in August 2014 via Turkey's first-ever popular presidential election, he claimed a mandate for increasing his power and pursuing a "presidential system" of governance. Analyses of Erdogan sometimes characterize him as one or more of the following: a pragmatic populist, a protector of the vulnerable, a budding authoritarian, an indispensable figure, and an Islamic ideologue.77 Erdogan is a polarizing figure, with about half the country supporting his rule, and half the country against it. U.S. and European Union officials have expressed a number of concerns about rule of law and civil liberties in Turkey,78 including the government's influence on media and Turkey's reported status as the country with the most journalists in prison.79

While there may be some similarities between Turkey under Erdogan and countries like Russia, Iran, or China, some factors distinguish Turkey from them. For example, unlike Russia or Iran, Turkey's economy cannot rely on significant rents from natural resources if foreign sources of revenue or investment dry up. Unlike Russia and China, Turkey does not have nuclear weapons under its command and control. Additionally, unlike all three others, Turkey's economic, political, and national security institutions and traditions have been closely connected with those of the West for decades.

Erdogan's consolidation of power has continued amid domestic and international concerns about growing authoritarianism in Turkey. He outlasted the July 2016 coup attempt, after which Turkey's government detained tens of thousands and took over or closed various businesses, schools, and media outlets.80 Despite laying the primary blame for the attempted coup on Fethullah Gulen and his movement,81 the government's crackdown apparently targeted many Turkish citizens outside of the Gulen movement.82 Over 150 people, mostly from the military, were sentenced to life in prison in June 2019 for various charges related to the coup attempt.83 Additionally, as part of the post-coup crackdown, Turkey has detained a number of Turks employed at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey.84

Erdogan scored key victories in an April 2017 constitutional referendum and June 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections—emerging with the expanded presidential powers he had sought. Some allegations of voter fraud and manipulation surfaced in both elections.85 Erdogan's Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, or AKP) maintained the largest share of votes in March 2019 local elections, but lost some key municipalities to opposition candidates, mostly from the secular-leaning Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, or CHP). Disputes over the Istanbul mayoral election led to a re-run of that race in June 2019 that yielded a significant victory for the CHP candidate. Despite Istanbul's symbolic importance, it remains unclear to what extent, if at all, losing control of Turkey's largest city poses a real threat to Erdogan's rule.86 A combination of factors, including Erdogan's governing style and the ongoing economic downturn, appears to be fueling efforts by former top AKP figures such as former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan to consider political involvement outside the party.87

Economic Concerns

The Turkish economy slowed considerably during 2018 (see Figure 2 below), entering a recession in the second half of the year with negative consequences both for consumer demand and for companies seeking or repaying loans in global markets.88 Forecasts for 2019 generally remain negative.89 During 2018, the Turkish lira depreciated close to 30% against the dollar in an environment featuring a globally stronger dollar, rule of law concerns and political uncertainty, and significant corporate debt.

Figure 2. Selected Turkish Economic Indicators

Source: Wall Street Journal, June 2019.

Some observers speculate that Turkey may need to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a financial assistance package.90 This would be a sensitive challenge for President Erdogan because his political success story is closely connected with helping Turkey become independent from its most recent IMF intervention in the early 2000s.91 In January 2019, Turkey's parliament voted to grant Erdogan broader emergency powers in case of a financial crisis.92

The government appears to be trying to stimulate growth via familiar measures to boost consumer demand. A former Turkish economic official claimed in January that by offloading the "debt crisis of the real sector" onto the banking sector, the government has exacerbated the crisis and that a "harsh belt-tightening policy" with or without the IMF is thus inevitable.93 In July, Erdogan fired the central bank's governor for his unwillingness to loosen monetary policy, and shortly thereafter the new governor cut the key interest rate by 4.25%.94 He may be inclined to make additional cuts.95 However, a number of analysts assess that consumer and investor confidence in Turkey's economy could remain low without resolution of the debt loads carried by Turkish banks and private companies.96 Greater political turmoil in Turkey, or increased foreign policy tensions (including potential U.S. sanctions related to Turkey's S-400 acquisition), could spur further economic decline.

Author Contact Information

Jim Zanotti, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])
Clayton Thomas, Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Footnotes

Figure A-3. Syria-Turkey Border Appendix B. Timeline of Turkey's Involvement in Syria (2011-2019)                  

Sources: Various open sources

Appendix C. Timeline of Key Events: October 6-17

Author Contact Information

Jim Zanotti, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])
Clayton Thomas, Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Footnotes

IMF, Turkey: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2019 Article IV Mission, September 23, 2019.

1.

Selcuk Colakoglu, "The Rise of Eurasianism in Turkish Foreign Policy: Can Turkey Change its pro-Western Orientation?" Middle East Institute, April 16, 2019; Asli Aydintasbas and Jeremy Shapiro, "The U.S. and Turkey have bigger problems than their erratic leaders," Washington Post, January 15, 2019; Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "Erdogan: How Turkey Sees the Crisis with the U.S.," New York Times, August 10, 2018.

2.

See, e.g., Max Hoffman, Michael Werz, and John Halpin, "Turkey's 'New Nationalism' Amid Shifting Politics," Center for American Progress, February 11, 2018.

3.

See, e.g., Keith Johnson and Robbie Gramer, "Who Lost Turkey?" foreignpolicy.com, July 19, 2019.

4.

See, e.g., Aaron Stein, "Why Turkey Turned Its Back on the United States and Embraced Russia," foreignaffairs.com, July 9, 2019. Additionally, for information on Turkey-Russia energy ties, see CRS In Focus IF11177, TurkStream: Another Russian Gas Pipeline to Europe, by Sarah E. Garding et al.; and CRS Report R41368, Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti and Clayton Thomas.

5.

Gonul Tol and Birol Baskan, "From 'hard power' to 'soft power' and back again: Turkish foreign policy in the Middle East," Middle East Institute, November 29, 2018.

6.

See, e.g., Hussein Agha and Robert Malley, "The Middle East's Great Divide Is Not Sectarianism," New Yorker, March 11, 2019.

7.

Turkey has supported forces aligned with the U.S.-recognized Government of National Accord, while Egypt and Saudi Arabia have supported those of Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army.

8.

Micha'el Tanchum, "Turkey's String of Pearls: Turkey's Overseas Naval Installations Reconfigure the Security Architecture of Mediterranean-Red Sea Corridor," Austria Institut für Europa und Sicherheitspolitik, April 2019.

9.

Department of State, Joint Statement on the Ministerial Meeting of the United States, Greece, Republic of Cyprus, and Israel Regarding Cooperation in the Field of Energy, August 7, 2019.

10.

For background information on these issues, see Simon Henderson, "Turkey's Energy Confrontation with Cyprus," Washington Institute for Near East Policy, July 24, 2019; and Matina Stevis-Gridneff, "Turkey Punished for Drilling for Gas off Coast of Cyprus," New York Times, July 16, 2019. The Senate and House versions of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1790 and H.R. 2500) each contain a provision that would amend the Foreign Assistance Act to permit the lifting of the 32-year-old U.S. arms embargo against Cyprus under specified conditions.

11.

Gordon Lubold, Felicia Schwartz, and Nancy A. Youssef, "U.S. Pares Back Use of Turkish Base amid Strains with Ankara," Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2018.

12.

Aaron Stein, "Bilateral Basing Squabbles: Incirlik and America's Out of Area Wars," Atlantic Council, August 29, 2018; Testimony of Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, September 6, 2017.

13.

Nimet Kirac, "US-Turkey cooperation against Islamic State ongoing, Pentagon says," Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, August 27, 2018.

14.

Aaron Stein, "The Day After S-400: The Turkish-American Relationship Will Get Worse," War on the Rocks, May 23, 2019; Kyle Rempfer, "US Air Force ties to Greece may grow as relations with Turkey sour," Air Force Times, April 30, 2019; Joseph Trevithick, "Docs Show US To Massively Expand Footprint At Jordanian Air Base Amid Spats With Turkey, Iraq," The Drive, January 14, 2019.

15.

Metin Gurcan, "How Turkey is planning to handle US blowback over S-400s," Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, July 16, 2019. Media reports indicate that the S-400 deal, if finalized, would be worth approximately $2.5 billion. Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay, "Turkey, Russia sign deal on supply of S-400 missiles," Reuters, December 29, 2017. According to this article, the portion of the purchase price not paid for up front (55%) would be financed by a Russian loan.

16.

Metin Gurcan, "Where will the S-400s be deployed?" Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, July 8, 2019.

17.

"Turkey's Erdogan says Russian S-400s will be fully deployed by April 2020," Reuters, July 15, 2019.

18.

Department of Defense transcript, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen M. Lord and Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy David J. Trachtenberg Press Briefing on DOD's Response to Turkey Accepting Delivery of the Russian S-400 Air And Missile Defense System, July 17, 2019.

19.

A 2007 memorandum of understanding among the consortium participants is available at https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/102378.pdf, and an earlier 2002 U.S.-Turkey agreement is available at https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/196467.pdf. For information on the consortium and its members, see CRS Report RL30563, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program, by Jeremiah Gertler. For details on Turkish companies' participation in the F-35 program, see https://www.f35.com/global/participation/turkey-industrial-participation.

20.

Stein, "The Day After S-400…," op. cit. footnote 14; Burak Ege Bekdil, "Russia pitches Turkey the Su-57 fighter jet if F-35 deal with US collapses," Defense News, May 6, 2019; Richard Aboulafia, "Turkey After The F-35: Choice for Alternative Fighter Will Help Shape Country's Future," forbes.com, July 21, 2019.

21.

https://www.f35.com/global/participation/turkey-industrial-participation; Paul McLeary, "F-35 Production Hurt If Turkey Kicked Out of Program: Vice Adm. Winter," Breaking Defense, April 4, 2019.

22.

Valerie Insinna, "Turkish suppliers to be eliminated from F-35 program in 2020," Defense News, June 7, 2019.

23.

Department of Defense transcript, op. cit. footnote 18.

24.

McLeary, op. cit. footnote 21.

25.

Michael R. Gordon, et al., "U.S. to Withhold Order of F-35s from Turkey," Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2019.

26.

Insinna, op. cit. footnote 22.

27.

Marcus Weisgerber, "Lockheed: We Could Easily Sell Turkey's F-35s to Other Customers," Defense One, May 29, 2019.

28.

Department of Defense transcript, op. cit. footnote 18.

29.

See, e.g., Sebastien Roblin, "Congress Temporarily Banned Sale of F-35 Jets to Turkey (But Turkish Pilots Are Still Training to Fly Them)," nationalinterest.org, September 2, 2018. One analysis explained the process by which infiltration could happen, writing that for an F-35 to fly within lethal range of the S-400 in Turkey, certain deconfliction equipment would need to be integrated into the S-400 system, potentially allowing for compromise of this equipment and the information it shares. Kyle Rempfer, "Here's how F-35 technology would be compromised if Turkey also had the S-400 anti-aircraft system," Air Force Times, April 5, 2019.

30.

Jonathan Marcus, "What Turkey's S-400 missile deal with Russia means for Nato," BBC News, June 13, 2019.

31.

Rempfer, op. cit., footnote 29.

32.

Michael Kofman of CNA, cited in "How Missile System Irks the U.S. and Threatens to Drive a Wedge into NATO," New York Times, July 12, 2019.

33.

Department of Defense transcript, op. cit. footnote 18.

34.

White House transcript, Remarks by President Trump Welcoming Team USA for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games, July 18, 2019; White House transcript, Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Rutte of the Netherlands Before Bilateral Meeting, July 18, 2019.

35.

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Bipartisan Leadership of Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees Condemn Turkey's S-400 Acquisition, July 12, 2019.

36.

"Trump asks GOP senators for 'flexibility' on Turkey sanctions," NBC News, July 24, 2019. In a July 23 letter to President Trump, the 10 Democratic Senators from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressed disappointment that the Administration was only engaging with Republican Senators on the issue and communicated an expectation that Trump would impose sanctions on Turkey without delay. Text of letter available at https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/07-23-19%20SFRC%20Dems%20letter%20to%20Trump%20re%20Turkey%20S400.pdf.

37.

"Turkey says S-400 purchase from Russia a 'done deal,' cannot be canceled," Reuters, April 4, 2019. For various perspectives on the lack of a U.S.-Turkey agreement on Patriot, despite two Defense Security Cooperation Agency notifications of possible sale to Congress (in 2009 and 2018), see Aaron Stein, "The Russian Missile That Could End the U.S.-Turkish Alliance," War on the Rocks, March 12, 2019; Richard Aboulafia, "Turkey After the F-35: Choice for Alternative Fighter Will Help Shape Country's Future," forbes.com, July 21, 2019; Ibrahim Kalin, "No, Turkey Has Not Abandoned the West," Bloomberg, July 22, 2019.

38.

Aboulafia, op. cit. footnote 37; David A. Wemer, "After Russian Air Defense Deal, Can Ankara and Washington Repair Their Relationship?" Atlantic Council, July 15, 2019.

39.

Katie Bo Williams, "Graham: I Told Turkey They Can Avoid Sanctions if They Don't Activate Russian Radar," Defense One, July 25, 2019.

40.

"Pompeo Urges Turkey Not to Make Russian S-400 'Operational,'" Bloomberg, July 25, 2019.

41.

State Department Press Briefing transcript, July 25, 2019.

42.

See, e.g., Asli Aydintasbas, "Unhappy anniversary: Turkey's failed coup and the S-400," European Council on Foreign Relations, July 17, 2019.

43.

"Trump asks GOP senators for 'flexibility' on Turkey sanctions," op. cit. footnote 36. The 1980 U.S.-Turkey Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement contains provisions addressing the U.S. use of Incirlik and other installations in Turkey. "Cooperation on defense and economy," United States Treaties and Other International Agreements 32 (1980): 3323-3486.

44.

Sebastian Sprenger, "Turkey defiant on purchase of Russian S-400 anti-missile system," Defense News, July 11, 2018.

45.

Burak Ege Bekdil, "Turkey makes deal to buy Russian-made S-400 air defense system," Defense News, December 27, 2017; Umut Uras, "Turkey's S-400 purchase not a message to NATO: official," Al Jazeera, November 12, 2017. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu insisted in February 2018 that Turkey needs additional air defense coverage "as soon as possible," and referenced previous withdrawals of Patriot systems by NATO allies. State Department website, Remarks by Cavusoglu, Press Availability with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Ankara, Turkey, February 16, 2018.

46.

Gonul Tol and Nilsu Goren, "Turkey's Quest for Air Defense: Is the S-400 Deal a Pivot to Russia?" Middle East Institute, December 2017.

47.

"No change in Turkey's course on S-400 deal: Turkish officials," Hurriyet Daily News, June 9, 2019.

48.

Anton Mardasov, "Can Russian, Turkish military-technical cooperation go beyond S-400 production?" Al-Monitor, May 28, 2019.

49.

See, e.g., Vladimir Frolov, "Our Man in NATO: Why Putin Lucked Out with Recep Erdogan," Moscow Times, April 15, 2019; Sinan Ulgen, "It's Not Too Late to Stop Turkey from Realigning with Russia," foreignpolicy.com, April 11, 2019; Kemal Kirisci and Seckin Kostem, "Don't let Russian S-400s peel Turkey away from the West," Brookings Institution, December 18, 2018.

50.

"U.S. VP Pence warns Turkey against buying Russian air defenses," Reuters, April 3, 2019.

51.

"Turkey confirms cancellation of $3.4 billion missile defence project awarded to China," Reuters, November 18, 2015.

52.

Johnson and Gramer, op. cit. footnote 3; Nicholas Danforth, "Frustration, Fear, and the Fate of U.S.-Turkish Relations," German Marshall Fund of the United States, July 19, 2019; Ali Demirdas, "S-400 and More: Why Does Turkey Want Russian Military Technology so Badly?" nationalinterest.org, July 14, 2019.

53.

Aaron Stein, "Why Turkey Turned Its Back on the United States and Embraced Russia," foreignaffairs.com, July 9, 2019; Bulent Aras, "Why Does Turkey Want S-400 Missiles?" LobeLog, July 3, 2019; Aydintasbas, op. cit. footnote 42.

54.

Interview with Bulent Aliriza of Center for Strategic and International Studies, "4 questions on the risks facing Turkey's defense industry," Defense News, April 22, 2019; Aras, op. cit. footnote 53; Demirdas, op. cit. footnote 52.

55.

Aydintasbas, op. cit. footnote 42.

56.

Ibid.

57.

"Pentagon report on Turkey's F-35 program delivered to Congress," Reuters, November 15, 2018.

58.

Department of Defense, FY19 NDAA Sec. 1282 Report, Status of the U.S. Relationship with the Republic of Turkey, Unclassified Executive Summary, November 26, 2018.

59.

Ibid.

60.

See, e.g., Soner Cagaptay, "U.S. Safe Zone Deal Can Help Turkey Come to Terms with the PKK and YPG," Washington Institute for Near East Policy, August 7, 2019.

61.

U.S. military commanders have generally differentiated between the YPG and the PKK, but in February 2018, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats submitted written testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence stating that the YPG was the Syrian militia of the PKK. Daniel R. Coats, Director of National Intelligence, Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, February 13, 2018.

62.

Pentagon statement quoted in Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt, "Trump to Arm Syrian Kurds, Even as Turkey Strongly Objects," New York Times, May 9, 2017; Anne Barnard and Patrick Kingsley, "Arming Syrian Kurds Could Come at a Cost," New York Times, May 11, 2017.

63.

Lead Inspector General Report to the U.S. Congress, Overseas Contingency Operations: Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines, October 1, 2017-December 31, 2017, p. 25. The House version of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (Section 1222 of H.R. 2500) would specifically name the SDF as an authorized recipient of U.S. support and restrict the types of weaponry that could be transferred in the future to U.S. partner forces in Syria to small arms. The Senate version of the bill (Section 1221 of S. 1790) would amend the authorized purposes of U.S. assistance to include "securing territory formerly controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" and "supporting the temporary detention and repatriation of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria foreign terrorist fighters."

64.

Selva Unal, "US determined to keep its word about YPG in Manbij, official says," Daily Sabah, March 1, 2018.

65.

Ferhat Gurini, "Turkey's Lack of Vision in Syria," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, February 26, 2019. The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a report in June 2018 alleging possible violations by the de facto authorities of international humanitarian and human rights laws—including actions or omissions that prevent Kurds from returning to their homes. U.N. OHCHR, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place – Civilians in North-western Syria," Monthly Human Rights Digest, June 2018.

66.

Steve Holland and Orhan Coskun, "Turkey's Erdogan rebukes Trump's top security adviser over Kurds in Syria," Reuters, January 8, 2019.

67.

Jane Ferguson, "Kurdish control in Syria threatened by U.S. troop withdrawal," PBS, May 11, 2019.

68.

Nancy A. Yousef and Dion Nissenbaum, "U.S. Starts Moving Materiel Out of Syria," Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2019.

69.

Donald J. Trump, Twitter post, January 13, 2019, 2:53 p.m., https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1084584259510304768.

70.

See, e.g., Semih Idiz, "Erdogan-Putin summit highlights differences over Syria," Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, January 25, 2019.

71.

According to one media report, the Turkish government reportedly "is working on a plan to relocate 700,000 Syrians to territories it hopes to seize from a U.S.-backed Kurdish group in northern Syria." David Gauthier-Villars and Nazih Osseiran, "Turkey to Send Syrian Refugees Home," Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2019.

72.

Jared Szuba, "Turkey and US agree to jointly administer northern Syria border zone," Defense Post, August 7, 2019.

73.

Afsin Yurdakul, "What's the Future of Syrian Refugees in Turkey?" New York Times, July 18, 2019.

74.

Semih Idiz, "Debate over Syrian refugees gathers steam in Turkey," Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, January 11, 2019.

75.

See, e.g., Laura Batalla and Juliette Tolay, Toward Long-Term Solidarity with Syrian Refugees? Turkey's Policy Response and Challenges, Atlantic Council, September 2018.

76.

Alan Makovsky, "Turkey's Refugee Dilemma," Center for American Progress, March 13, 2019; Sarah Dadouch, "'They want to kill you': Anger at Syrians erupts in Istanbul," Reuters, July 9, 2019.

77.

See, e.g., "The Erdogan Effect: How One Man Shaped Turkey," CNN Video; Soner Cagaptay, The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey, New York: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd, 2017; Burak Kadercan, "Erdogan's Last Off-Ramp: Authoritarianism, Democracy, and the Future of Turkey," War on the Rocks, July 28, 2016.

78.

See, e.g., State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, Turkey; European Commission, Turkey 2019 Report, May 29, 2019.

79.

See, e.g., "Turkish Media Group Bought by Pro-Government Conglomerate," New York Times, March 22, 2018; "Turkey leads the world in jailed journalists," Economist, January 16, 2019.

80.

Human Rights Watch, "Turkey: Events of 2018," World Report 2019.

81.

Turkey's government calls for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen and the matter remains pending before U.S. officials. CRS In Focus IF10444, Fethullah Gulen, Turkey, and the United States: A Reference, by Jim Zanotti and Clayton Thomas. For information on Turkish allegations about Gulen's link to the coup plot, see Carlotta Gall, "104 Turks Get Life Terms for Failed Coup," New York Times, May 23, 2018.

82.

Chris Morris, "Reality Check: The numbers behind the crackdown in Turkey," BBC, June 18, 2018. Turkey established a commission in 2017 (based on advice from the Council of Europe) to allow for public officials to appeal their dismissals, and the commission has provided redress to 2,300 people after reviewing about 40% of the appeals. Human Rights Watch, op. cit. footnote 80.

83.

Carlotta Gall, "Turkey Jails 151 for Life for Roles in Failed 2016 Coup," New York Times, June 20, 2019.

84.

Carlotta Gall, "Turkish Trial of U.S. Consular Employee Highlights Rift in Relations," New York Times, March 28, 2019; Aykan Erdemir and Merve Tahiroglu, "Turkey Doubles Down on Persecution of U.S. Consular Employees," Foundation for Defense of Democracies, February 1, 2019. U.S. citizens Andrew Brunson (a Christian pastor) and Serkan Golge (a NASA scientist), whose cases attracted significant attention, were released from prison in October 2018 and May 2019, respectively.

85.

Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Limited Referendum Observation Mission Final Report, Turkey, April 16, 2017 (published June 22, 2017); OSCE, International Election Observation Mission, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, Turkey, Early Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, June 24, 2018 (published June 25, 2018).

86.

Howard Eissenstat, "Five lessons from the latest elections in Turkey," Washington Post, June 26, 2019.

87.

Yunus Orhan and Ora John Reuter, "Turkey's ruling party is splintering. Here's Why," Washington Post, July 18, 2019.

88.

See, e.g., Nevzat Devranoglu, "Turkey's economy to contract in 2019, longer recession ahead," Reuters, April 12, 2019.

89.

Cagan Koc, "Turkey Risks Double-Dip Recession After First-Quarter Bounce," Bloomberg, May 14, 2019.

90.

"Why some Turkish media rejoice at negative economic data," Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, January 16, 2019.

91.

Onur Ant, et al., "Erdogan's Road Map out of Market Meltdown Is Full of U-Turns," Bloomberg, August 8, 2018.

92.

Firat Kozok, "Erdogan Gets Emergency Powers Over the Turkish Economy," Bloomberg, January 17, 2019.

93.

Ufuk Soylemez, quoted in "Why some Turkish media rejoice at negative economic data," op. cit. footnote 90.

94.

David Gauthier-Villars and Ayantika Chilkoti, "Turkey Cuts Rates in Dash for Growth," Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2019.

95.

Nevzat Devranoglu, "Turkey's Albayrak sees more rate cuts; says bank reacts to data," Reuters, July 30, 2019.

96.

Diego Cupolo, "US leniency on S-400 offers Turkey chance to repair economy," Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, August 1, 2019.

Effect of Tensions on U.S./NATO Cooperation Turkey's location near several global hotspots has made the continuing availability of its territory for the stationing and transport of arms, cargo, and personnel valuable for the United States and NATO. From Turkey's perspective, NATO's traditional value has been to mitigate its concerns about encroachment by neighbors. Turkey initially turned to the West largely as a reaction to aggressive post-World War II posturing by the Soviet Union. In addition to Incirlik Air Base near the southern Turkish city of Adana, other key U.S./NATO sites include an early warning missile defense radar in eastern Turkey and a NATO ground forces command in Izmir (see Figure A-2). Turkey also controls access to and from the Black Sea through its straits pursuant to the Montreux Convention of 1936. Current U.S.-Turkey tensions have fueled discussion from the U.S. perspective about the advisability of continued U.S./NATO use of Turkish bases. As a result of the tensions and questions about the safety and utility of Turkish territory for U.S. and NATO assets, some observers have advocated exploring alternative basing arrangements in the region.5 The Trump Administration reportedly reduced the U.S. military presence at Incirlik in 2018 while contemplating broader reductions in Turkey.6 While an August 2018 report cited a Department of Defense (DOD) spokesperson as saying that the United States was not leaving Incirlik,7 some reports suggest that expanded or potentially expanded U.S. military presences in Greece and Jordan might be connected with concerns about Turkey.8

There are historical precedents for such changes. On a number of occasions, the United States has withdrawn military assets from Turkey or Turkey has restricted U.S. use of its territory or airspace. Most prominently, Turkey closed most U.S. defense and intelligence installations in Turkey during the 1975-1978 U.S. arms embargo that Congress imposed in response to Turkey's military intervention in Cyprus.

Assessing costs and benefits to the United States of a U.S./NATO presence in Turkey, and of potential changes in U.S./NATO posture, largely revolves around two questions:

  • How important is U.S./NATO support to Turkey's external defense and internal stability, and to what extent does that support serve U.S. interests?
  • To what extent does the United States rely on direct use of Turkish territory or airspace to secure and protect U.S. interests?
Syria and October 2019 Incursion The overall conflict in Syria presents both challenges and opportunities for Turkey (see Appendix B for a timeline of Turkey's involvement). Turkish-led forces have occupied and administered some parts of northern Syria since 2016, Turkey's chief objective has been to thwart the PKK-linked Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) from establishing an autonomous area along Syria's northern border with Turkey. Turkish-led military operations to that end have included the U.S.-supported Operation Euphrates Shield (August 2016-March 2017) against an IS-controlled area in northern Syria, and Operation Olive Branch in early 2018 directly against the Kurdish enclave of Afrin. Turkey has considered the YPG and its political counterpart, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), to be the top threat to Turkish security because of Turkish concerns that YPG/PYD gains have emboldened the PKK in Turkey.9 Shortly after the YPG/PYD began achieving military and political success with its leading role in what became the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)—an umbrella group including Arabs and other non-Kurdish elements that became the main U.S. ground force partner against the Islamic State in 2015—Turkey-PKK peace talks broke down, tensions increased, and occasional violence resumed within Turkey. In October 2019, Turkey's military attacked some SDF-controlled areas in northeastern Syria after President Trump ordered a pullback of U.S. Special Forces shortly after a call with President Erdogan. In the previous months, joint U.S.-Turkey ground patrols had monitored the border area and some YPG fortifications were dismantled, but Turkish leaders repeatedly criticized the United States for not doing enough to secure the removal of the YPG from the border area.10 The declared aims of what Turkey calls Operation Peace Spring (OPS) are to target "terrorists"—both the YPG and the Islamic State—and create a "safe zone" for the possible resettlement of some of the approximately 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.11 The ground component of the Turkish operation—as during previous Turkish operations in Syria—is being carried out to a significant extent by militia forces comprised largely of Sunni Arab opponents of the Syrian government.12 See Appendix C for a timeline of key events surrounding OPS.

Syrian Refugees in Turkey

In addition to its ongoing military activities in Syria, Turkey hosts about 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees—more than any other country. Turkish officials estimate that they have spent more than $37 billion on refugee assistance.13 According to these official estimates, the Syrian refugee population in Turkey increased in 2018 even though about 291,000 refugees returned to Syria.14

Turkey has managed the refugees' presence in Turkish society by addressing their legal status, basic needs, employment, education, and impact on local communities.15 Turkey has closed several refugee camps in 2019 and encouraged Syrians in those camps to integrate into Turkish society while resolution of their long-term status is pending. Problems in the Turkish economy over the past year may be fueling some tensions between refugees and Turkish citizens.16

Reports claim that, in light of domestic pressure,17 Turkey may already have forcibly returned thousands of Syrian refugees to other areas in Syria,18 though Turkish officials deny these claims.19 Erdogan has warned that he may respond to international criticism of OPS by allowing refugees to leave Turkey for Europe,20 notwithstanding an existing Turkey-European Union agreement.21

Initial operations have resulted in Turkish-led control over a largely Arab-populated section between the Syrian towns of Tell Abiad and Ras Al Ain—effectively cutting off YPG communications between the largely Kurdish-populated enclaves of Kobane and Qamishli (see Figure A-3 below). Reports indicate that civilians on both sides of the border have been killed—with some areas in Turkey hit by cross-border fire—and that more than 200,000 people on the Syrian side have been displaced. The SDF's mid-October arrangement with the Syrian government—occurring shortly after U.S. officials announced that U.S. forces would leave northern Syria—may allow for greater Syrian and Russian control in SDF-controlled areas. Questions remain regarding the status of camps previously controlled by the SDF that hold thousands of IS prisoners and their families, and whether either the Syrian government or Turkish-led forces might assume custody over them.22

On October 17, Vice President Pence negotiated a conditional pause to OPS with Turkey that could become a permanent halt. If it does, the halt would apparently allow for a largely Turkish-patrolled safe zone in areas already occupied during the incursion and broader areas 30 kilometers (~19 miles) south of the Turkish border. A joint U.S.-Turkey statement contemplated a withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone by October 22, protections for Kurdish and other civilians living in the safe zone, and a possible reversal of the U.S. sanctions designations described below.23

U.S. Sanctions and Other Actions in Light of OPS

The Trump Administration has imposed sanctions on Turkey in response to OPS. The Administration's actions come amid concerns voiced by many—including Members of Congress—about the operation's potential security, political, and humanitarian effects on Syrian Kurds who have helped the United States counter the Islamic State, and on Syrian civilians.24 The Administration's sanctions may be intended to satisfy Members of Congress calling for stronger sanctions and to create room for diplomacy to reduce or end hostilities.25

The potential effect of sanctions remains unclear. One media article stated that U.S. sanctions are unlikely to deter Turkish military operations because the operations involve "one of Erdogan's core convictions" that the group is equivalent to the PKK.26 President Trump has referred to August 2018 U.S. actions vis-à-vis Turkey—when U.S. officials were seeking the release of an American pastor from a Turkish prison—as a successful example of using economic measures as leverage.27 Other sources assert that sanctions could negatively affect Turkey's fragile economy (see "Economic Status" below) and U.S.-Turkey bilateral relations.28

Executive Order 13894 and Other Administration Measures

On October 14, President Trump signed an executive order (EO 13894) to declare that Turkey's military offensive into northeastern Syria constituted a U.S. national emergency, and authorizing sanctions against current and former Turkish officials, government agencies, and sectors of the Turkish economy—as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.29 The order also authorizes sanctions against any person found to be responsible for or engaged in the ongoing military operations in northeastern Syria, intimidation of displaced persons in the region, or interference in democratic processes, along with financial institutions or other parties deemed to be assisting any designated individuals.30

According to the President, the order authorizes "a broad range of consequences, including financial sanctions, the blocking of property, and barring entry into the United States."31 The Treasury Department issued two general licenses alongside the executive order that exempt transactions involving official U.S. business and Turkish dealings with major international organizations. A third general license allows U.S. persons to engage in transactions in a 30-day wind-down period to complete contracts with Turkey's defense and energy ministries.32 One media report suggests that the Administration may be crafting waivers to explicitly permit continued U.S. arms sales to Turkey.33

Halkbank: U.S. Indictment Related to Iran Sanctions

On October 15, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced a six-count indictment against Halkbank (a Turkish bank that is majority-owned by the government) for "fraud, money laundering, and sanctions offenses related to the bank's participation in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran."34 In explaining the indictment, the U.S. Attorney stated, "The bank's audacious conduct was supported and protected by high-ranking Turkish government officials, some of whom received millions of dollars in bribes to promote and protect the scheme."35

The U.S. Attorney also said that the indictment was based on information that emerged from the 2017-2018 trial of Halkbank's deputy general manager, Mehmet Hakan Atilla.36 The key witness in this trial was Reza Zarrab, a gold trader, dual Turkish-Iranian citizen, and indicted co-conspirator who entered into a plea bargain in exchange for his cooperation with prosecutors. Zarrab testified that then-Prime Minister Erdogan had approved the scheme by which Zarrab and others used Turkish banks to finance the purchase of Iranian oil with gold in violation of U.S. sanctions.37

President Erdogan regularly criticized the proceedings in the Atilla-Zarrab case. For the case, U.S. investigators used findings from 2013 documents previously possessed by Turkish prosecutors whom Erdogan accused of seeking to undermine his government in connection with the Gulen movement. Atilla was convicted in January 2018, sentenced to 32 months in prison, released early in July 2019, and returned to Turkey.

Pursuant to EO 13894, on October 14 the Treasury Department designated for sanctions Turkey's defense and energy ministries and their ministers, as well as Turkey's interior minister.38 That same day, the President announced that he will raise steel tariffs on Turkey back to 50% and will immediately stop bilateral negotiations aimed at increasing the volume of U.S.-Turkey trade.39 Congressional Action and Possible Additional Sanctions

Congress is actively considering responses to Turkey's incursion into Syria. On October 14, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that she had spoken with Senator Lindsey Graham, and called for "a bipartisan, bicameral joint resolution to overturn the President's dangerous decision in Syria immediately."40 On October 16, the House passed H.J.Res. 77 by a vote of 354-60 (with four voting present).

Speaker Pelosi also called for "a stronger sanctions package than what the White House is suggesting."41 As of October 18, two sanctions bills have been introduced in the House, and one in the Senate, with another Senate bill apparently forthcoming.

The Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act (PACT Act, H.R. 4695, or "Engel-McCaul"), introduced by the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,42 would apparently, among other things:

Require the President to block the U.S. property, interests in property, and related transactions of, and/or deny entry into the United States to (1) senior Turkish government and military officials deemed responsible for specific aspects of the Turkish incursion; (2) foreign persons deemed to have knowingly provided defense articles, services, or technology to Turkey that are usable in northern Syria; and (3) Halkbank (a Turkish bank that is majority-owned by the government), plus any financial institutions deemed to have "knowingly facilitated transactions for the Turkish Armed Forces or defense industry relating to Turkey's invasion of northern Syria."

Prohibit U.S. defense articles or services from transfer to Turkey that are usable in northern Syria.

Require the President to impose sanctions on Turkey for its acquisition of a Russian S-400 air defense system (see "CAATSA Sanctions?" below).43

Require the Administration to report on the estimated net worth and sources of income of President Erdogan and specified family members.

Require the Administration to provide plans or reports relating to IS prisoners, counter-IS operations, and U.S. assistance for Syrian Kurds and other communities affected by Turkish operations.

Some of the Engel-McCaul sanctions would terminate if the President notifies Congress that Turkey has taken certain actions to halt attacks, withdraw its forces, and avoid obstructing counter-IS operations.

The Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Risch-Menendez) announced their intention on October 17 to introduce a bill. Based on their announcement, the bill may require the imposition of sanctions similar to some in H.R. 4695, direct the President to oppose loans to Turkey from international finance institutions, and call for a number of reports relating to Turkey and Syria and Turkish participation in NATO.44

Some 16 Senators and more than 110 Representatives are sponsoring two different versions of a bill called the Countering Turkish Aggression Act of 2019 (CTAA; Senate version: S. 2644, or "Graham-Van Hollen"; House version: H.R. 4692, or "Cheney").45 Among other things, both the Graham-Van Hollen and Cheney versions would impose some sanctions similar to those in H.R. 4695. Additionally, their provisions prohibiting U.S. arms sales to Turkey and imposing secondary sanctions on foreign persons who knowingly support or transact with the Turkish military would apply broadly even to items or services beyond those usable by Turkey's military in northern Syria.

Additionally, some 10 Representatives are sponsoring the U.S.-Turkey Relations Review Act of 2019 (H.R. 4694), which would require a detailed Administration report to congressional committees on various aspects of bilateral relations and implications for U.S./NATO strategic and military posture in the region.46 Two Senators are sponsoring S. 2624, a bill to prohibit U.S. arms sales to Turkey.

Other Possible U.S. Options and NATO Implications

U.S. policymakers and lawmakers also could consider other options aimed at influencing Turkish behavior or securing U.S. interests. The United States and other NATO allies have no direct way to remove Turkey from NATO; the only explicit mechanism for leaving NATO in the North Atlantic Treaty is Article 13, which allows parties to leave one year after giving a notice of denunciation to the United States.47 However, the United States and other NATO members could change their contributions of personnel and equipment and their participation in specific activities or locations in ways that affect cooperation with Turkey. On October 14, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stated that he would "press our other NATO allies to take collective and individual diplomatic and economic measures in response to these egregious Turkish actions" during a planned visit to NATO headquarters later in October.48 Since 2013, NATO allies have been providing Turkey with air defense support around its border with Syria.49 On October 14, all 28 member states of the European Union (22 of whom are also NATO members) agreed to "commit to strong national positions regarding their arms export policy to Turkey."50 Several EU member states, including Italy (Europe's top arms exporter to Turkey), France, and Germany have suspended arms exports to Turkey, but the EU did not implement a formal EU-wide arms embargo.51

Several open source media outlets have speculated about whether U.S. tactical nuclear weapons may be based at Incirlik Air Base, and if so, whether U.S. officials might consider taking them out of Turkey.52 On October 16, President Trump expressed confidence in the safety of U.S. military assets that may be based at Incirlik because it is "a large powerful air base."53

Turkey's S-400 Acquisition from Russia

U.S.-Turkey tensions over Turkey's acquisition of a Russian S-400 air defense system and the resulting U.S. removal of Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, along with possible sanctions on Turkey, could have broad implications for bilateral relations and defense cooperation. It also could affect Turkey's role in NATO.

In July 2019, Turkey reportedly began taking delivery of Russian S-400 components.54 The head of Turkey's defense procurement agency has said that Turkey expects the system to be operational sometime this year.55 President Erdogan has said that the system will be fully deployed by April 2020.56 Removal from F-35 Aircraft Program In response to the beginning of S-400 deliveries to Turkey, the Trump Administration announced on July 17 that it was removing Turkey from participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.57 Turkey had planned to purchase 100 U.S.-origin F-35s and was one of eight original consortium partners in the development and industrial production of the aircraft.58 If Turkey does not receive the F-35, it might turn to other sources—possibly including Russia—to fill its capability need for next-generation aircraft and other major defense purchases.59

End of Turkish Involvement: Impact on the F-35 Program

Because the F-35 program features multinational industrial inputs, unwinding Turkey's involvement could present financial and logistical challenges. Turkish companies have been involved in about 6-7% of the supply chain—building displays, wiring, fuselage structures, and other parts—for F-35s provided to all countries.60 With some lead time to anticipate Turkey's possible removal from the program, the F-35 joint program office within DOD has identified alternative suppliers for the Turkish subsystems.61 According to Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord, existing contracts with Turkish suppliers for over 900 parts would reportedly wind down by March 2020, and the United States "is spending between $500 million and $600 million in non-recurring engineering in order to shift the supply chain."62 According to an April 2019 statement from the joint program office's director, Vice Admiral Mathias Winter, "the evaluation of Turkey stopping would be between [a] 50- and 75-airplane impact over a two-year period."63 It is unclear whether the United States or the F-35 consortium could be liable for financial penalties beyond refunding Turkey's initial investment in the program, an estimated $1.5 billion.64

Additionally, the depot to service engines for European countries' F-35s was initially slated to be in Turkey. However, according to Under Secretary Lord, "There are two other European MRO&Us [maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade facilities] that can absorb the volume with no issue whatsoever."65

The CEO of Lockheed Martin, the primary contractor for the F-35, said in May 2019 that if Turkey did not purchase the 100 aircraft, the consortium would not have difficulty finding willing buyers for them. Two possible buyers include Japan and Poland.66

In explaining the U.S. decision to remove Turkey from the F-35 program, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said, "Turkey cannot field a Russian intelligence collection platform [within the S-400 system] in proximity to where the F-35 program makes, repairs and houses the F-35. Much of the F-35's strength lies in its stealth capabilities, so the ability to detect those capabilities would jeopardize the long-term security of the F-35 program."67 A security concern regarding the F-35 could compromise its global marketability and effectiveness.68 While some Russian radars in Syria may have already monitored Israeli-operated F-35s,69 intermittent passes at long ranges reportedly might not yield data on the aircraft as conclusive as the more voluminous data available if an S-400 in Turkey could routinely monitor F-35s.70 However, one U.S.-based analyst has said that U.S. concerns are "overblown" and that Russian tracking of F-35s in Turkey would not significantly differ from monitoring elsewhere.71 CAATSA Sanctions? The Turkey-Russia S-400 transaction could trigger the imposition of U.S. sanctions under Section 231 of the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017 (Title II of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA; P.L. 115-44; 22 U.S.C. 9525). In late July, President Trump reportedly asked a group of Republican Senators for flexibility on sanctions implementation regarding Turkey as he considered pursuing a deal potentially allowing Turkey to remain in the F-35 program if it (1) agreed not to use the S-400 and (2) acquired a U.S. Patriot air defense system.72 Turkish officials have maintained that the S-400 is a "done deal" and any purchase of Patriot would be in addition to the S-400.73 However, some analysts and former U.S. officials have said that Turkey's S-400 acquisition may not be final, or that a verifiable arrangement that prevents S-400 data gathering on the F-35 could allow the two systems to coexist in Turkey.74 According to one media report, in July Erdogan threatened to retaliate against any sanctions, including by withdrawing Turkey from NATO and ejecting the United States from Incirlik Air Base.75 Turkey's Rationale and Implications for NATO76 A number of analysts have sought to explain possible political motivation for Turkey's actions on the S-400 deal by citing Turkey's willingness to act more independently in the context of U.S.-Turkey tensions and other regional trends (see "Turkey's Strategic Orientation" above). Some have raised the possibility that Turkey may seek to defend against U.S.-origin aircraft of the type used by elements within the Turkish military during the 2016 coup attempt.77 Other contributing factors to the S-400 decision may include nationalistic strains within Turkish domestic politics,78 as well as Turkey's desires for more diversified sources of arms procurement due partly to its experience from the 1970s U.S. arms embargo over Cyprus.79

For some observers, the S-400 issue raises the possibility that Russia could take advantage of U.S.-Turkey friction to undermine the NATO alliance.80 In 2013, Turkey reached a preliminary agreement to purchase a Chinese air defense system, but later (in 2015) withdrew from the deal, perhaps partly due to concerns voiced within NATO, as well as China's reported reluctance to share technology.81

Relevant U.S. Legislation

Congress has mandated that no U.S. funds can be used to transfer F-35s to Turkish territory until DOD submits a report—required no later than November 1, 2019—updating a November 2018 report on a number of issues affecting U.S.-Turkey defense cooperation, including the S-400 and F-35.82 Pursuant to Section 7046(d)(2) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (P.L. 116-6), the update is to include a "detailed description of plans for the imposition of sanctions, if appropriate," for an S-400 purchase. In June 2019, the House passed H.Res. 372, a nonbinding resolution calling for consequences if Turkey does not cancel the S-400 deal.

In 2019, five separate provisions have either passed a house of Congress or been reported by a committee (H.R. 2500, S. 1790, S. 1102, two in H.R. 1740) that would each prevent the use of funds to transfer F-35s to Turkey. Most of the provisions (other than the defense appropriations provision in H.R. 1740) are subject to waiver if the executive branch can certify in some manner that Turkey does not plan to take delivery of or keep the S-400.

Domestic Turkish Developments Political Developments Under Erdogan's Rule President Erdogan has ruled Turkey since becoming prime minister in 2003. After Erdogan became president in August 2014 via Turkey's first-ever popular presidential election, he claimed a mandate for increasing his power and pursuing a "presidential system" of governance, which he achieved in a 2017 referendum and 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections. Some allegations of voter fraud and manipulation surfaced in both elections.83 Erdogan is a polarizing figure, with about half the country supporting his rule, and half the country against it. U.S. and European Union officials have expressed a number of concerns about rule of law and civil liberties in Turkey,84 including the government's influence on media and Turkey's reported status as the country with the most journalists in prison.85 Erdogan's consolidation of power has continued amid domestic and international concerns about growing authoritarianism in Turkey. He outlasted the July 2016 coup attempt, after which Turkey's government detained tens of thousands and took over or closed various businesses, schools, and media outlets.86 As part of the post-coup crackdown, the government has detained some Turks employed at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey.87 Erdogan's Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, or AKP) maintained the largest share of votes in 2019 local elections, but lost some key municipalities to opposition candidates, including Istanbul. It remains unclear to what extent, if at all, these losses pose a threat to Erdogan's rule.88 Economic Status

The Turkish economy slowed considerably during 2018, entering a recession in the second half of the year with negative consequences both for consumer demand and for companies seeking or repaying loans in global markets.89 During 2018, the Turkish lira depreciated close to 30% against the dollar in an environment featuring a globally stronger dollar, rule of law concerns and political uncertainty, and significant corporate debt.

According to a September 2019 International Monetary Fund (IMF) analysis of the Turkish economy, "Growth has rebounded, aided by policy stimulus and favorable market conditions, following the sharp lira depreciation and associated recession in late-2018…. The current calm appears fragile. Reserves remain low, and private sector [foreign exchange] debt and external financing needs high."90

Appendix A. Maps, Facts, and Figures

Figure A-1. Turkey at a Glance

Geography

Area: 783,562 sq km (302,535 sq. miles), slightly larger than Texas

People

Population: 81,257,239 (2018) Most populous cities: Istanbul 14.8 mil, Ankara 5.3 mil, Izmir 4.2 mil, Bursa 2.9 mil, Antalya 2.3 mil (2016)

% of Population 14 or Younger: 24.3%

Ethnic Groups: Turks 70%-75%; Kurds 19%; Other minorities 7%-12% (2016)

Religion: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), Others (mainly Christian and Jewish) 0.2%

Literacy: 96.2% (male 98.8%, female 93.6%) (2016)

Economy

GDP Per Capita (at purchasing power parity): $28,264

Real GDP Growth: 0.2%

Inflation: 13.5%

Unemployment: 13.8%

Budget Deficit as % of GDP: 2.9%

Public Debt as % of GDP: 30.4%

Current Account Deficit as % of GDP: 0.7%

International reserves: $101 billion

Sources: Graphic created by CRS. Map boundaries and information generated by Hannah Fischer using Department of State boundaries (2011); Esri (2014); ArcWorld (2014); DeLorme (2014). Fact information (2019 estimates unless otherwise specified) from International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database; Turkish Statistical Institute; Economist Intelligence Unit; and Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook.

Figure A-2. Map of U.S. and NATO Military Presence in Turkey

Sources: Department of Defense, NATO, and various media outlets; adapted by CRS.

Notes: All locations are approximate. Italy has reportedly decided to withdraw its air defense battery by November 2019.

Source: CRS, using area of influence data from IHS Conflict Monitor, last revised October 15, 2019. All areas of influence approximate and subject to change. Other sources include U.N. OCHA, Esri, and social media reports.

Notes: This map does not depict all U.S. bases in Syria.

2011

Though the two leaders once closely corresponded, then-Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan calls for Syrian President Bashar al Asad to step down as protests and violence escalate; Turkey begins support for Sunni Arab-led opposition groups in cooperation with the United States and some Arab Gulf states

2012-2014

As conflict escalates in Syria and involves more external actors, Turkey begins facing cross-border fire and jihadist terrorist attacks in border areas and urban centers; as well as allegations of Turkish government permissiveness with jihadist groups that oppose the Asad government.

Turkey unsuccessfully calls for U.S. and NATO assistance to establish safe zones in northern Syria as places to train opposition forces and gather refugees and IDPs

At Turkey's request, a few NATO countries (including the United States) station air defense batteries in Turkey near Syrian border

2014

The Islamic State obtains control of large swath of northern Syria

IS attack on Kurdish-majority Syrian border town of Kobane unchallenged by Turkish military but repulsed by YPG-led Syrian Kurds (and some non-YPG Kurds from Iraq permitted to transit Turkish territory) with air support from U.S.-led coalition, marking the beginning of joint anti-IS efforts between the United States and YPG-led forces (including non-Kurdish elements) that (in 2015) become the SDF through U.S. train-and-equip initiatives

Turkey, with Erdogan now president, begins allowing anti-IS coalition aircraft to use its territory for reconnaissance purposes

2015

Turkey begins permitting anti-IS coalition aircraft to conduct airstrikes from its territory

As YPG-led forces find success in taking over IS-controlled areas with U.S.-led coalition support, a Turkey-PKK peace process (ongoing since 2013) breaks down and violence resumes in Turkey; Turkish officials' protests intensify in opposition to U.S. partnership with SDF in Syria

U.S. military withdraws Patriot air defense battery from Turkey; some other NATO countries continue operating air defense batteries on Turkey's behalf

In September, Russia expands its military involvement in Syria and begins helping Asad regain control over much of the country

In November, a Turkish aircraft shoots down a Russian aircraft based in Syria under disputed circumstances; Russia responds with punitive economic measures against Turkey

2016

After failed coup attempt in Turkey in July, Turkey partners in August with Syrian opposition forces on its first military operation in Syria (Operation Euphrates Shield), a U.S.-supported effort to eject IS fighters from and occupy an area between SDF-controlled enclaves

2017

Turkey begins Astana peace process on Syria with Russia and Iran

In preparation for the campaign against the final major IS-held urban center in Raqqah, U.S. officials decide in May to arm YPG personnel directly, insisting to protesting Turkish officials that the arms will be taken back after the defeat of the Islamic State

2018

Turkey and its Syrian opposition partners militarily occupy the Kurdish enclave of Afrin (Operation Olive Branch); significant Kurdish displacements prompt humanitarian and human rights concerns

2019

Erdogan insists on a safe zone in Syria to prevent opportunities for YPG attacks in Turkey or collaboration with Turkey-based PKK forces, and to resettle Syrian refugees; U.S. officials try to prevent conflict and to get coalition assistance to patrol border areas in northeastern Syria.

In October, President Trump announces highly controversial pullback of U.S. Special Forces from SDF-controlled border areas; to date, the United States had not recovered U.S.-origin arms from YPG personnel

Turkey launches Operation Peace Spring (OPS), with Turkish-led forces obtaining control of various border areas between Tell Abiad and Ras Al Ain, along with key transport corridors; reports of civilian casualties and displacement take place amid general humanitarian and human rights concerns

Secretary of Defense Esper announces pending withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria; SDF reaches arrangement with Syrian government permitting its forces a greater presence in previously SDF-controlled areas

Vice President Pence and other high-ranking U.S. officials arrange with Turkey for a pause to OPS conditioned on future Turkish and SDF actions

Source: CRS, with information culled from various open sources.

1.

Selcuk Colakoglu, "The Rise of Eurasianism in Turkish Foreign Policy: Can Turkey Change its pro-Western Orientation?" Middle East Institute, April 16, 2019; Asli Aydintasbas and Jeremy Shapiro, "The U.S. and Turkey have bigger problems than their erratic leaders," Washington Post, January 15, 2019; Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "Erdogan: How Turkey Sees the Crisis with the U.S.," New York Times, August 10, 2018.

2.

See, e.g., Max Hoffman, Michael Werz, and John Halpin, "Turkey's 'New Nationalism' Amid Shifting Politics," Center for American Progress, February 11, 2018.

3.

See, e.g., Keith Johnson and Robbie Gramer, "Who Lost Turkey?" foreignpolicy.com, July 19, 2019.

4.

See, e.g., Aaron Stein, "Why Turkey Turned Its Back on the United States and Embraced Russia," foreignaffairs.com, July 9, 2019. Additionally, for information on Turkey-Russia energy ties, see CRS In Focus IF11177, TurkStream: Another Russian Gas Pipeline to Europe, by Sarah E. Garding et al.; and CRS Report R41368, Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti and Clayton Thomas.

5.

Aaron Stein, "Bilateral Basing Squabbles: Incirlik and America's Out of Area Wars," Atlantic Council, August 29, 2018; Testimony of Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, September 6, 2017.

6.

Gordon Lubold, Felicia Schwartz, and Nancy A. Youssef, "U.S. Pares Back Use of Turkish Base amid Strains with Ankara," Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2018.

7.

Nimet Kirac, "US-Turkey cooperation against Islamic State ongoing, Pentagon says," Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, August 27, 2018.

8.

Aaron Stein, "The Day After S-400: The Turkish-American Relationship Will Get Worse," War on the Rocks, May 23, 2019; Kyle Rempfer, "US Air Force ties to Greece may grow as relations with Turkey sour," Air Force Times, April 30, 2019; Joseph Trevithick, "Docs Show US To Massively Expand Footprint At Jordanian Air Base Amid Spats With Turkey, Iraq," The Drive, January 14, 2019.

9.

See, e.g., Soner Cagaptay, "U.S. Safe Zone Deal Can Help Turkey Come to Terms with the PKK and YPG," Washington Institute for Near East Policy, August 7, 2019.

10.

Ryan Browne, et al., "US and Turkish troops conduct first joint ground patrol of Syrian 'safe zone,'" CNN, September 8, 2019.

11.

Ibrahim Kalin, Twitter post, 4:32 AM, October 7, 2019.

12.

Reports suggest some of these militia forces have carried out violations of international humanitarian law in operations since October 9.

13.

Afsin Yurdakul, "What's the Future of Syrian Refugees in Turkey?" New York Times, July 18, 2019.

14.

Semih Idiz, "Debate over Syrian refugees gathers steam in Turkey," Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, January 11, 2019.

15.

See, e.g., Laura Batalla and Juliette Tolay, Toward Long-Term Solidarity with Syrian Refugees? Turkey's Policy Response and Challenges, Atlantic Council, September 2018.

16.

Alan Makovsky, "Turkey's Refugee Dilemma," Center for American Progress, March 13, 2019; Sarah Dadouch, "'They want to kill you': Anger at Syrians erupts in Istanbul," Reuters, July 9, 2019.

17.

Pinar Tremblay, "Are Syrians in Turkey no longer Erdogan's 'brothers'?" Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, July 30, 2019.

18.

Durrie Bouscaren, "Turkey denies deporting refugees to Syria. Activists say they've sent back thousands," PRI's The World, August 6, 2019.

19.

Fahrettin Altun, "Turkey Is Helping, Not Deporting, Syrian Refugees," foreignpolicy.com, August 23, 2019.

20.

Dorian Jones, "Erdogan Plays Refugee Card as Criticism Mounts Over Turkey's Kurdish Offensive," Voice of America, October 10, 2019.

21.

CRS Report R41368, Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti and Clayton Thomas.

22.

Charlie Savage, "The Kurds' Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained," nytimes.com, October 13, 2019.

23.

White House, The United States and Turkey Agree to Ceasefire in Northeast Syria, October 17, 2019; Department of State, Special Representative for Syria Engagement James F. Jeffrey Remarks to the Traveling Press, October 17, 2019.

24.

However, the Administration, along with Russia, reportedly vetoed a U.N. Security Council draft resolution on October 10 that would have called on Turkey to stop OPS. Andrew Rettman, "EU stands alone against US and Russia on Syria," EUObserver, October 11, 2019.

25.

See text of October 9 letter from President Trump to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from the Twitter account of a New York Times White House correspondent. Katie Rogers, Twitter post, 4:29 PM, October 16, 2019, https://twitter.com/katierogers/status/1184567108853751809?s=20.

26.

Keith Johnson and Elias Groll, "Trump's Weak Sanctions May Only Help Erdogan," foreignpolicy.com, October 14, 2019. See also Mevlut Cavusoglu, "Why Turkey Took the Fight to Syria," New York Times, October 11, 2019.

27.

For information on the U.S. actions and their possible effect, see CRS Report R41368, Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti and Clayton Thomas.

28.

"Turkey's incursion in Syria may leave its own economy wounded," Reuters, October 10, 2019.

29.

White House, Executive Order on Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Syria, October 14, 2019. 84 Federal Register 55851-55855.

30.

Ibid.

31.

White House, Statement from President Donald J. Trump Regarding Turkey's Actions in Northeast Syria, October 14, 2019.

32.

Department of the Treasury, Executive Order on Syria-related Sanctions; Syria-related Designations; Issuance of Syria-related General Licenses, October 14, 2019.

33.

Tony Bertuca, "U.S. crafting waivers to continue arms sales to Turkey," Inside Defense, October 15, 2019.

34.

Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York, Turkish Bank Charged In Manhattan Federal Court For Its Participation In A Multibillion-Dollar Iranian Sanctions Evasion Scheme, October 15, 2019.

35.

Ibid.

36.

Ibid.

37.

Benjamin Weiser, "At Iran Sanctions Trial: A Star Witness Revealed, and a Sleepy Juror," New York Times, December 2, 2017.

38.

Department of the Treasury, op. cit. footnote 32.

39.

White House, Statement from President Donald J. Trump op. cit. footnote 31.

40.

Nancy Pelosi, Twitter post, 11:55 AM, October 14, 2019.

41.

Ibid.

42.

Text of H.R. 4695 available at https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/_cache/files/e/b/eb440c71-a15d-4e9b-8fac-83f6053d2f94/742280A55004AEE0124B2D1E61BE52E1.hr-4695-pact-act--.pdf.

43.

Pursuant to Section 231 of the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017 (title II of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA; P.L. 115-44; 22 U.S.C. 9525).

44.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Foreign Relations Committee Leaders Announce New Comprehensive Syria-Turkey Legislation, October 17, 2019.

45.

Office of Senator Chris Van Hollen, Van Hollen, Graham Announce Framework for Sanctions Against Turkey, October 9, 2019; Office of Representative Liz Cheney, Cheney and Colleagues Release Text of Turkey Sanctions Legislation, October 16, 2019.

46.

Office of Representative Adam Kinzinger, Kinzinger & Cicilline Question Turkey as a NATO Partner, October 16, 2019.

47.

Article 2 of the treaty states that its parties "will seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between any or all of them."

48.

Department of Defense, "Statement by Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper Regarding Turkey, Syria Border Actions," October 14, 2019. https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/1988372/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-dr-mark-t-esper-regarding-turkey-syria-border/.

49.

NATO, "NATO Patriot Mission in Turkey," https://shape.nato.int/ongoingoperations/nato-patriot-mission-in-turkey-.

50.

"EU governments limit arms sales to Turkey but avoid embargo," Reuters, October 14, 2019.

51.

Ibid.

52.

David E. Sanger, "Trump Followed His Gut on Syria. Calamity Came Fast," New York Times, October 14, 2019; Ankit Panda, "Why Are U.S. Nuclear Bombs Still in Turkey?" newrepublic.com, October 15, 2019; Stephen Losey, "With Turkey's invasion of Syria, concerns mount over nukes at Incirlik," Air Force Times, October 15, 2019; David Brennan, "U.S.-Turkey tensions raise fears over future of nuclear weapons near Syria," Newsweek, October 15, 2019.

53.

White House, Remarks by President Trump and President Mattarella of the Italian Republic Before Bilateral Meeting, October 16, 2019.

54.

Metin Gurcan, "How Turkey is planning to handle US blowback over S-400s," Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, July 16, 2019. Media reports indicate that the S-400 deal, if finalized, would be worth approximately $2.5 billion. Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay, "Turkey, Russia sign deal on supply of S-400 missiles," Reuters, December 29, 2017. According to this article, the portion of the purchase price not paid for up front (55%) would be financed by a Russian loan.

55.

Metin Gurcan, "Where will the S-400s be deployed?" Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse, July 8, 2019.

56.

"Turkey's Erdogan says Russian S-400s will be fully deployed by April 2020," Reuters, July 15, 2019.

57.

Department of Defense transcript, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen M. Lord and Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy David J. Trachtenberg Press Briefing on DOD's Response to Turkey Accepting Delivery of the Russian S-400 Air And Missile Defense System, July 17, 2019.

58.

A 2007 memorandum of understanding among the consortium participants is available at https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/102378.pdf, and an earlier 2002 U.S.-Turkey agreement is available at https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/196467.pdf. For information on the consortium and its members, see CRS Report RL30563, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program, by Jeremiah Gertler. For details on Turkish companies' participation in the F-35 program, see https://www.f35.com/global/participation/turkey-industrial-participation.

59.

Stein, "The Day After S-400…," op. cit. footnote 8; Burak Ege Bekdil, "Russia pitches Turkey the Su-57 fighter jet if F-35 deal with US collapses," Defense News, May 6, 2019; Richard Aboulafia, "Turkey After The F-35: Choice for Alternative Fighter Will Help Shape Country's Future," forbes.com, July 21, 2019.

60.

https://www.f35.com/global/participation/turkey-industrial-participation; Paul McLeary, "F-35 Production Hurt If Turkey Kicked Out of Program: Vice Adm. Winter," Breaking Defense, April 4, 2019.

61.

Valerie Insinna, "Turkish suppliers to be eliminated from F-35 program in 2020," Defense News, June 7, 2019.

62.

Department of Defense transcript, op. cit. footnote 57.

63.

McLeary, op. cit. footnote 60.

64.

Michael R. Gordon, et al., "U.S. to Withhold Order of F-35s from Turkey," Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2019.

65.

Insinna, op. cit. footnote 61.

66.

Marcus Weisgerber, "Lockheed: We Could Easily Sell Turkey's F-35s to Other Customers," Defense One, May 29, 2019.

67.

Department of Defense transcript, op. cit. footnote 57.

68.

See, e.g., Sebastien Roblin, "Congress Temporarily Banned Sale of F-35 Jets to Turkey (But Turkish Pilots Are Still Training to Fly Them)," nationalinterest.org, September 2, 2018. One analysis explained the process by which infiltration could happen, writing that for an F-35 to fly within lethal range of the S-400 in Turkey, certain deconfliction equipment would need to be integrated into the S-400 system, potentially allowing for compromise of this equipment and the information it shares. Kyle Rempfer, "Here's how F-35 technology would be compromised if Turkey also had the S-400 anti-aircraft system," Air Force Times, April 5, 2019.

69.

Jonathan Marcus, "What Turkey's S-400 missile deal with Russia means for Nato," BBC News, June 13, 2019.

70.

Rempfer, op. cit., footnote 68.

71.

Michael Kofman of CNA, cited in "How Missile System Irks the U.S. and Threatens to Drive a Wedge into NATO," New York Times, July 12, 2019.

72.

"Trump asks GOP senators for 'flexibility' on Turkey sanctions," NBC News, July 24, 2019. In a July 23 letter to President Trump, 10 Democratic Senators from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressed disappointment that the Administration was only engaging with Republican Senators on the issue and communicated an expectation that Trump would impose sanctions on Turkey without delay. Text of letter available at https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/07-23-19%20SFRC%20Dems%20letter%20to%20Trump%20re%20Turkey%20S400.pdf.

73.

"Turkey says S-400 purchase from Russia a 'done deal,' cannot be canceled," Reuters, April 4, 2019. For various perspectives on the lack of a U.S.-Turkey agreement on Patriot, despite two Defense Security Cooperation Agency notifications of possible sale to Congress (in 2009 and 2018), see Aaron Stein, "The Russian Missile That Could End the U.S.-Turkish Alliance," War on the Rocks, March 12, 2019; Richard Aboulafia, "Turkey After the F-35: Choice for Alternative Fighter Will Help Shape Country's Future," forbes.com, July 21, 2019; Ibrahim Kalin, "No, Turkey Has Not Abandoned the West," Bloomberg, July 22, 2019.

74.

Aboulafia, op. cit. footnote 73; David A. Wemer, "After Russian Air Defense Deal, Can Ankara and Washington Repair Their Relationship?" Atlantic Council, July 15, 2019.

75.

"Trump asks GOP senators for 'flexibility' on Turkey sanctions," op. cit. footnote 72. The 1980 U.S.-Turkey Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement contains provisions addressing the U.S. use of Incirlik and other installations in Turkey. "Cooperation on defense and economy," United States Treaties and Other International Agreements 32 (1980): 3323-3486.

76.

For more information on this subject, see CRS Report R41368, Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti and Clayton Thomas.

77.

Johnson and Gramer, op. cit. footnote 3; Nicholas Danforth, "Frustration, Fear, and the Fate of U.S.-Turkish Relations," German Marshall Fund of the United States, July 19, 2019; Ali Demirdas, "S-400 and More: Why Does Turkey Want Russian Military Technology so Badly?" nationalinterest.org, July 14, 2019.

78.

Aaron Stein, "Why Turkey Turned Its Back on the United States and Embraced Russia," foreignaffairs.com, July 9, 2019; Bulent Aras, "Why Does Turkey Want S-400 Missiles?" LobeLog, July 3, 2019; Asli Aydintasbas, "Unhappy anniversary: Turkey's failed coup and the S-400," European Council on Foreign Relations, July 17, 2019.

79.

Interview with Bulent Aliriza of Center for Strategic and International Studies, "4 questions on the risks facing Turkey's defense industry," Defense News, April 22, 2019; Aras, op. cit. footnote 78; Demirdas, op. cit. footnote 77.

80.

See, e.g., Vladimir Frolov, "Our Man in NATO: Why Putin Lucked Out with Recep Erdogan," Moscow Times, April 15, 2019; Sinan Ulgen, "It's Not Too Late to Stop Turkey from Realigning with Russia," foreignpolicy.com, April 11, 2019; Kemal Kirisci and Seckin Kostem, "Don't let Russian S-400s peel Turkey away from the West," Brookings Institution, December 18, 2018.

81.

"Turkey confirms cancellation of $3.4 billion missile defence project awarded to China," Reuters, November 18, 2015.

82.

"Pentagon report on Turkey's F-35 program delivered to Congress," Reuters, November 15, 2018.

83.

Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Limited Referendum Observation Mission Final Report, Turkey, April 16, 2017 (published June 22, 2017); OSCE, International Election Observation Mission, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, Turkey, Early Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, June 24, 2018 (published June 25, 2018).

84.

See, e.g., State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, Turkey; European Commission, Turkey 2019 Report, May 29, 2019.

85.

See, e.g., "Turkish Media Group Bought by Pro-Government Conglomerate," New York Times, March 22, 2018; "Turkey leads the world in jailed journalists," Economist, January 16, 2019.

86.

Human Rights Watch, "Turkey: Events of 2018," World Report 2019.

87.

Carlotta Gall, "Turkish Trial of U.S. Consular Employee Highlights Rift in Relations," New York Times, March 28, 2019; Aykan Erdemir and Merve Tahiroglu, "Turkey Doubles Down on Persecution of U.S. Consular Employees," Foundation for Defense of Democracies, February 1, 2019. U.S. citizens Andrew Brunson (a Christian pastor) and Serkan Golge (a NASA scientist), whose cases attracted significant attention, were released from prison in October 2018 and May 2019, respectively.

88.

Laura Pitel, "Turkey: old friends threaten Recep Tayyip Erdogan's reign," Financial Times, September 25, 2019.

89.

See, e.g., Nevzat Devranoglu, "Turkey's economy to contract in 2019, longer recession ahead," Reuters, April 12, 2019.

90.