WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the reported meeting between President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the G20 Summit:
“The President’s reported promise not to sanction Turkey if the purchase of Russian weapons jeopardizes NATO and our own national security. Turkey cannot operate an advanced Russian air defense system alongside sensitive NATO and American systems, period. President Erdogan must know that there will be consequences.
“Congress, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the rest of the United States government have been clear: if Turkey gets the S-400, it shouldn’t get the Joint Strike Fighter; it should be kicked out of the F-35 program; and it will face sanctions. If Turkey operates the S-400 and the F-35, it would place the lives of all future American and allied F-35 pilots at risk. President Trump ought to side with the men and women who fly these planes, not a Turkish autocrat desperate to maintain his grip on power.2
“No one forced Erdogan to cozy up to Vladimir Putin. The Unites States has always been willing to work with Turkey and offered comparable American AIR defense equipment. President Erdogan needs to stop playing games and chose between the West or Russia.
“Finally, as he always does with strongmen, President Trump has missed an opportunity to call out an authoritarian leader for his attempts to undermine democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and the freedom of the press. The President should side with his own country, not with enemies of democracy who are putting our security at risk.”
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