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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

Jan 20, 2021 - World

Iran lays out "road map" for nuclear talks with Biden

Khamenei earlier this month. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Iran has been accumulating bargaining chips and laying out its strategy for engagement with Joe Biden, who arrives in office promising to return the U.S. to the 2015 nuclear deal if Iran returns to compliance.

Why it matters: Recent statements from Iran's leaders indicate that they're willing to strike such a deal. But the sides differ over who will have to make the first move, and when.

31 mins ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.

Stuck jet stream brings blowtorch December in Lower 48, frigid Alaska

Short-term climate outlook for Dec. 13-19, 2021, from the Climate Prediction Center at NOAA. (NOAA/CPC)

The Lower 48 states have seen record-shattering warmth so far this December, with temperatures running as high as 35°F above average for this time of year. The warmth has been so pronounced that during the weekend, brush fires broke out in a snowless, unusually mild Denver metro area.

The big picture: The jet stream, which is a river of air that rides at about 30,000 feet along the temperature contrast between air masses, steering storms as it goes, has been stuck in a position well north of the continental U.S., keeping storms and cold weather at bay.