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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump. Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. has imposed sanctions against Turkey for purchasing the Russian S-400 air defense system in 2017, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday.

Why it matters: The sanctions are likely to heighten tensions between the two NATO allies just as President-elect Joe Biden, who has called President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan an "autocrat," is set to take office.

The big picture: Even as Turkey has taken on an increasingly belligerent foreign policy, angering other countries in NATO, Erdoğan has largely been shielded from U.S. punitive action thanks to his close personal ties with President Trump.

  • In spite of Trump's reservations, the U.S. removed Turkey from its F-35 stealth fighter jet program last year after it began receiving Russia's S-400 system, which Washington fears could be used to gather intelligence on the F-35 and its weaknesses.
  • The Trump administration had previously held off implementing sanctions against Turkey for violating the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, which requires the U.S. to sanction countries trading with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors.

Worth noting: The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which Trump has threatened to veto for unrelated reasons, would have forced the administration to impose sanctions on Turkey within 30 days.

What they're saying: “The United States made clear to Turkey at the highest levels and on numerous occasions that its purchase of the S-400 system would endanger the security of U.S. military technology and personnel and provide substantial funds to Russia’s defense sector, as well as Russian access to the Turkish armed forces and defense industry,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

The other side: Turkey's foreign ministry condemned the decision and said it would "not refrain from taking measures that it deems to be necessary to ensure national security."

Go deeper: Past friction between Biden and Erdoğan foreshadows future tensions

Go deeper

Biden taps ex-UN ambassador Samantha Power to lead USAID

Samantha Power at the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday nominated Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Why it matters: Biden's decision to bring Power, another veteran of the Obama years, into the administration is a reflection of his intent to revitalize foreign assistance as an instrument of soft power and to achieve humanitarian goals, Axios' Hans Nichols reports.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
8 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.