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U.S. Strikes Off Turkey From F-35 Fighter Jet Programme Over Ankara’s S-400 Deal With Moscow

Unic Press UK: The United States strikes off Turkey from participating in the F-35 fighter jet programme after Ankara took delivery of Russian-made S-400 missile defense system. In effect, the training of Turkish nationals that are in the U.S. comes to an abrupt end, and they would have to leave the country.

A statement Wednesday by the U.S. Press Secretary reads:

“Unfortunately, Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible. The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities. The United States has been actively working with Turkey to provide air defense solutions to meet its legitimate air defense needs, and this Administration has made multiple offers to move Turkey to the front of the line to receive the U.S. PATRIOT air defense system. Turkey has been a longstanding and trusted partner and NATO Ally for over 65 years, but accepting the S-400 undermines the commitments all NATO Allies made to each other to move away from Russian systems. This will have detrimental impacts on Turkish interoperability with the Alliance. The United States still greatly values our strategic relationship with Turkey. As NATO Allies, our relationship is multi-layered, and not solely focused on the F-35. Our military-to-military relationship is strong, and we will continue to cooperate with Turkey extensively, mindful of constraints due to the presence of the S-400 system in Turkey.”

Turkey insists that the S-400 missile defense system is not a threat to NATO. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “The S-400 systems pose no threat to NATO. There is no need to create tensions over this matter, which has been closed.”

Washington had repeatedly warned Ankara that a deal with Moscow on the S-400 missile defense system would mean no deal on the F-35 fighter jets, but, last week Turkey took delivery of the first shipment of S-400 equipment from Moscow, with the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan obviously excited with he said that: “S-400 deliveries to Turkey have begun. What has been said about this? It was said that we will be unable to purchase them and get them delivered. By April 2020, these systems will be fully deployed on the territory of our country. We hold true to our words as Turkish people. S-400 is the best missile defense system. I hope that we will produce it together with Russia.” 

Apart from installing the S-400 systems in Turkey, both countries also reached an agreement to transfer some technologies relating to the S-400 to the Turkish side.

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