Russia to be Turkey’s ‘First Choice’ if Ankara Ousted From F-35 Project – Report

Europe

Turkey and the United States have been at loggerheads over Ankara’s decision to acquire Russia-built S-400 air defence systems, which prompted Washington to suspend its delivery of F-35 fighter jet parts to Turkey.

Turkey will pursue Russian fighter jet technology should the United States boot out Ankara from the multinational group developing the F-35 Lightning II, Defense News reported citing an unnamed Turkish official.

“Russian fighter technology would be the first best choice if our American allies behaved in an un-allied way and questioned Turkey’s membership in the Joint Strike Fighter programme”, a senior military officer told the media outlet.

Washington has been pressuring its NATO ally to abandon the S-400 deal with Russia, threatening to expel Ankara from the F-35 programme and introduce sanctions under the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

If Turkey accepts the S-400, “no F-35s will ever reach the Turkish soil. And Turkish participation in the F-35 programme, including manufacturing parts, repairing and servicing the fighters, will be terminated, taking Turkish companies out of the manufacturing and supply chain for the programme”, a group of bipartisan lawmakers from the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote in early April.

This month, the Pentagon announced that it had frozen deliveries and activities…

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