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Turkey Expects F-35 Delivery Soon, But Greeks, Armenians Seek to Block Deal

Sputnik News

22:15 02.03.2018

The Turkish armed forces are expecting to take delivery of their first F-35 joint strike fighters before the end of 2018, according to Turkish daily Yeni Safak.

Turkey has committed to buying around 100 of the expensive fifth-generation aircraft. So far, though, Ankara has allocated funds for only 30 F-35s.

Turkish firms Alp Aviation, Aselsan, Ayesas, Fokker Elmo, Havelsan, Kale Aerospace, MiKES, Tubitak-SAGE and Turkish Aerospace Industries stand to rake in about $12 billion in profit from their participation in the F-35 program, according to Lockheed Martin's website.

But that's only if Greece and Armenia don't get in their way. Greek and Armenian lobbies launched a campaign petitioning the US Senate to block the sale of F-35s to Ankara in February.

According to Endy Zemenides, executive director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council, "There will be very strong opposition in Congress – which already acted against small arms sales to Turkish security forces – and in which measures challenging the F-35 transfer have been circulated," the lobbyist said February 20, noting that Turkey's opponents in Washington are "growing in numbers" while "congressmen willing to defend Turkey are in pretty short supply nowadays."

Following an incident in which security forces travelling with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to the US capital and beat peaceful US and Kurdish protesters as well as police officers in Northwest Washington, a House lawmaker sought to block the proposed sale of F-35s to Ankara, the Hill reported.

The Greek and Armenian lobbies have renewed their advocacy efforts to convince the Senate to officially pull the plug on the deal, as reported by Sputnik.


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