Turkey Vows Response if US Halts Sales of F-35 Fighters to Ankara
Earlier, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell warned that Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 missiles from Russia could negatively affect Washington’s decision to supply the F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.
Turkey will retaliate against the US if Washington blocks the supply of F-35 fighters to Ankara, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
Cavusoglu said that a proposal by US lawmakers to temporarily stop weapons sales, including F-35 jets, to Turkey was wrong, illogical and not fitting of the alliance between the NATO allies.
“Next week I will go on a visit to the United States. It’s about the fact that the cancellation of the sale of the F-35 is not acceptable, and if it (the cancellation) happens, then they (the US) will receive an appropriate response from Turkey,” Cavusoglu said.
Ankara has committed to buying 116 F-35A fighter jets under the US-led, multinational Joint Strike Fighter program.
Recently, US Senator Lankford said that “Turkey’s strategic decisions regrettably fall more and more out of line with, and at times in contrast to, US interests.”
According to him, Ankara’s geopolitical cooperation with Moscow and its decision to place an order for the advanced Russian S-400 missile defense system could complicate the F-35 purchase plan.
In December 2017, Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement for the supply of S-400 systems to Ankara. According to a statement by the Turkish defense industry secretariat, Ankara acquires two batteries of this system, which will be operated and serviced by Turkish military personnel.