Progress! A dialogue between Turkey and the US on the F-35s begins

ANKARA, (BM) – Ankara received a letter from Washington, which will begin a dialogue on resolving the problem with the latest F-35 fighters, the supplies of which were frozen by the United States due to Turkey’s acquisition of Russian S-400 air defense systems, said Ismail Demir, head of Turkey’s defense industry.

“We have already said that no country can be unilaterally excluded from the F-35 program. And the last letter from the United States confirmed that we were right. A dialogue with the United States will begin to find a solution to the problem with the F-35,” Demir said, RIA Novosti reports concerning the NTV channel.

In April, the United States sent an official notification to Turkey about its exclusion from the production program of the latest F-35 fighters due to Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems. The United States canceled a joint memorandum for the production of the F-35, signed by Turkey in January 2007, marking it with the seven remaining partners in the F-35 project: the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, Canada, and Norway.

Earlier, Turkey committed itself to buy 100 F-35 aircraft. It has also been involved in the production of over a thousand components for them. Turkey is currently continuing to manufacture these components, despite being excluded from the project by the United States.

In March, US Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield said that the only way Ankara could resolve its disagreements with Washington was to abandon Russian air defense systems. However, the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in a conversation with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, said that Turkey’s acquisition of Russian S-400 air defense systems is finally closed.

John Kirby: ‘Turkey is not receive F-35s’

On February 5, the Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed at a briefing that the current administration intends to comply with the ban on the purchase of the F-35 from Turkey, which Donald Trump imposed. Kibry 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.

Kibry 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.

In 2019, Turkey threatened the US with a lawsuit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on January 28, 2019, and he believes US President Donald Trump knows why Ankara had decided to buy Russian S-400 missile systems.

“Mr. Trump knows Turkey’s concerns, why we needed this system, and how we came to this point very well,” he said in an interview with Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review ahead of the Group of Twenty summit in Osaka.

The Turkish president warned the United States that Ankara would turn to the international arbitration court if Washington refuses to implement the contract for F-35 fighter jets. “We have already paid them $1.25 billion for the F-35 project. If they do make such a wrong move, we will take it to the international arbitration court because we will want them to pay us back the money we have spent so far,” he said.

When asked about Turkey’s response in case the United States imposed sanctions over the purchase of Russian S-400 systems, Erdogan said it was impossible to apply the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) to Turkey “because we took this step [of buying the S-400] before CAATSA came into effect.”

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