NEWS DESK

Relations between Washington and Ankara have been strained considerably before releasing the US pastor Andrew Brunson, but Congress is still suspicious of Ankara.

House Democrats voted last week to pass a spending bill targeting Turkey to impose a ban on arms sales and sanctions.

At present, Bryant Harris says Senate Majority Leader Mitch Makonel, R.K.K. refuses to approve spending legislation that does not fund the proposed border wall proposed by President Donald Trump with Mexico. However, lawmakers in both houses are looking forward to Ankara's next moves and are pondering whether they should go ahead with sanctions against Turkey again this year.

The author stressed that the main issue is the acquisition by Turkey of the Russian missile defense system S-400 and continued detention of US citizens and local consular officers.

"It depends on what happens when Turkey gets the S-400 missile system, which will have many consequences and we are still discussing it," Senator. Jane Shahin told the Monitor.

According to the Monitor and as members of the Foreign Aid Committee, Jane Shahin and Senator James Lancelford last year worked on punitive measures to include restrictions on arms sales and sanctions on Turkey in spending legislation.

The Shahin-Lancford provisions include a ban on the transfer of an F-35 to Turkey unless the Trump administration proves that Ankara is not proceeding with the S-400 purchase from Russia.

The US site indicates that Turkey is participating in the F-35 joint production program with the United States and several other countries. The US Department of Defense told Congress last year that Turkey's expulsion from the joint production program could delay delivery of between 50 and 75 F-35s for up to two years.

The move to sell the S-400 could also lead to sanctions against Turkey under the Anti-American Enemies Act through sanctions for 2017. The draft law requires the Trump administration to impose sanctions on states dealing with designated Russian defense contractors including Almaz Ante produces the S-400.

Both Jane Shahin and Lankford will press for greater sanctions on the spending bill, which would put a visa ban on senior Turkish officials involved in detaining US citizens.

The author points out that this was before Turkey released Andrew Brunson, the American pastor whose detention prompted the evangelical base of the Republicans. However, Turkey continues to detain another US citizen, NASA contractor Sergan Gulg. While Trump's lack of focus on Gulg is in stark contrast to his explicit calls for Brunson's release

Jane Shahin told the Monitor that Ankara's detention of the world and other US consular officers working locally "remains a concern."

Finally, the bill would ban US arms sales to the personal bodyguards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who were involved in beating protesters during his visit to Washington in 2017 to stand trial in US courts. Four of them still have pending cases in US courts after the Trump administration dropped another 11 charges.

Regardless of Congress, Trump's administration continues to work for a suspicious alliance with Erdogan.

Relations will improve after Erdogan was said to have persuaded Trump to withdraw US troops from Syria last month, paving the way for a Turkish attack on the People Protection Units.

However, the administration abandoned a tentative 30-day timetable for withdrawal and demanded assurances that Ankara would refrain from attacking Syrian Kurds. Erdogan responded angrily by canceling a meeting with National Security Adviser John Bolton and instead publicly criticized him in parliament.

H/S

ANHA