US denies ‘working group’ to discuss Turkish sanctions


The US State Department rejected Turkey’s claims that the two sides are discussing the formation of a joint working group to discuss the issue of sanctions that Washington imposed on Ankara over its purchase of a Russian air defense system.

Responding to a question from newswebsite Ahval, a State Department spokesperson said there is “no working group” to discuss the US law known as CAATSA or to “study” the threat posed by the Russian S-400 anti-missile system to US-made F-35 fighter jets.

“There are routine working-level consultations regarding the impact of the sanctions on existing military-to-military cooperation,” the spokesperson continued. “We remain committed to the full implementation of sanctions as announced by Secretary [Mike] Pompeo on December 14.”

Earlier in the day, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had claimed that the two countries were discussing a joint working group to resolve the issue.

The sanctions target Turkey's Presidency of Defense Industries, the head of the presidency and three other senior officials. They also include a ban on most export licenses, loans and credits to the agency.