Pentagon: Turkey is a valuable ally but will not receive F-35s
WASHINGTON, (BM) – In recent weeks, US President Joe Biden’s administration has revoked dozens of decrees and decisions of the previous administration. This is not the case with Turkey and its exclusion from the program for a multi-purpose stealth fighter of the fifth-generation F-35.
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Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed at a briefing on Friday (February 5th) that the current administration intends to comply with the ban on the purchase of the F-35 from Turkey, which Donald Trump imposed. Kibri has identified Turkey as a valuable and long-standing partner of the United States and NATO, but the purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system runs counter to Ankara’s commitments.
“Our position has not changed. The S-400 is incompatible with the F-35, and Turkey has been suspended from that program. We urge Turkey not to retain the S-400 system,” Kibri added.
Kibri reminded reporters again that Ankara had dozens of opportunities to communicate with Washington and buy US Patriot air defense systems. According to a Pentagon spokesman, the purchase of the S-400 is also economical, as it provides Russia with access, influence, and, last but not least, revenue.
The intentions were different
Turkey’s intentions more than 24 months ago were different. Ankara wanted to acquire a state-of-the-art fighter. Dozens of Turkish companies have joined the program to produce the F-35 multi-role fighter. At present, these companies continue to produce parts for American fighter jets.
Ankara intended to buy at least 100 fighters of this model. Subsequently, however, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s intentions differed from those intended, and he announced that Turkey was ready to order only 30 units of the fighter.
After it became clear that Turkey is out of the program, Washington decided to use the built fighters, buying them for its air force’s needs.
Greece is using the moment
Athens is trying to seize the moment and buy F-35 fighters from the United States, thus further “angering” Ankara.
Already last year, the Greeks sent an official letter to Washington asking them to buy between 18 and 24 fighter jets. The information was given by two Greek media, citing an unnamed source.
According to Greek media, Athens is ready to buy the consumers immediately, if the United States allows it. The Greeks demanded an immediate response, but one has not yet arrived, and it could be a signal that Washington has no plans to sell the planes to the southern Balkans.
Greece has already begun the transformation of its air force. Athens will upgrade hundreds of Mirage fighters. Most recently, Athens bought 18 Rafale fighters from France. If the Greeks acquire American F-35 fighters, the Greek Air Force will close the gap between them and other more advanced NATO members.
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