USA confirms Turkey blocked from F-35 program after Russian missile purchase

The White House sought to downplay the effects of the decision on the US relationship with Turkey

The White House sought to downplay the effects of the decision on the US relationship with Turkey

Trump announced on Tuesday that the S-400 purchase means Turkey will not be allowed to purchase any F-35 planes.

The first parts of the S-400 air defence system were flown to the Murted military airbase northwest of Ankara on Friday, sealing Turkey's deal with Russian Federation, which Washington had struggled for months to prevent. The first shipment of a Russian missile defense system has arrived in Turkey, the Turkish Defense Ministry said Friday, moving the country closer to possible USA sanctions and a new standoff with Washington.

Earlier on Wednesday, the White House said in a statement that Turkey's decision to buy the Russian S-400 air defence system "renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible".

The US action will lock out a number of Turkish manufacturers that were producing parts and components for the F-35, and block Turkey's plans to purchase some 100 of the advanced fighters. Under current law, the USA may be forced to sanction Turkey now that the country has had "significant dealings with the Russian defense industry".

The Trump administration said Wednesday it would cancel Turkey's participation in the Pentagon's elite Joint Strike Fighter program amid a growing rift over Ankara's decision to purchase a Russian missile defense system.

Asked several times how Turkey having an air-defense system that cannot be linked to other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation systems and could be used to spy on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation jets would not harm alliance cohesion, Trachtenberg repeated some variation of his belief that the relationship between Turkey, the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will be able to continue. "With all of that being said, we're working through it - we'll see what happens". "And that all has led to Turkey looking for alternatives". He added that "with God's permission", the missile systems would be fully deployed by April 2020.

Grisham noted that the US had made multiple offers to expedite delivery of US PATRIOT air defense systems to Turkey to meet its air defense needs but had been rebuffed by the Turkish government.

Ankara first turned to China and then to Russian Federation for the system.

Turkey initially sought in 2009 to buy the US Patriot missile defence system, and a $7.8bn deal was tentatively approved by the Obama administration.

India and Russia- two "Special and Privileged Strategic Partners"- signed a $5.43 billion deal in October 2018, for the delivery of S-400 systems.

The ongoing dispute between the countries with the two largest armies in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation marks a deep division in the Western military alliance, which was forged after World War II to counter Moscow's military power.

Five days after Turkey defied North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the accepting the first components of an advanced Russian missile defense system, the White House says the deal means Turkey won't be able to buy 100 new F-35 fighter jets, as it had planned.

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