Erdogan Again Warns US Not to Abandon F-35 Deal Over S-400 Supplies to Turkey
15:13 02.06.2018(updated 15:16 02.06.2018)
In April, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell declared that Turkey's purchase of a S-400 air defense system from Russia could negatively affect the delivery of F-35 jets to Ankara.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again urged Washington to remain committed to a deal on the supply of US fifth-generation F-35 fighters to Ankara, according to Turkey's Anadolu news agency.
"We say that the US is our strategic partner. But the strategic partner should not offer us to knock on other doors. We are not interested in what the Senate said. We are only interested in one thing [the F-35 deliveries]," Erdogan underscored.QQ
He recalled that the issue had already been agreed on during negotiations with US President Donald Trump.
"If we are strategic partners, then the US should not make any legal errors in this issue," Erdogan pointed out.
Earlier this month, Turkish media cited Erdogan as saying that Ankara, as Washington's strategic ally, has always adhered to its obligations and that the US has no legal reason to scrap the F-35 supplies to Turkey, which he recalled had already paid for the deliveries.
Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy, in turn, warned that Ankara "will have to respond" to Washington's possible suspension of the F-35 supplies after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States would continue in its efforts to discourage Turkey from purchasing the Russian-made S-400 air defense systems.
Aksoy slammed a recent US bill endorsed by "some US senators," which specifically stipulates steps to keep Ankara from buying the F-35 warplanes, which Aksoy said is "against the spirit of our alliance with the US."
In a separate development in May, Turkey's Yeni Safak media outlet reported that Ankara may consider purchasing Russia's Su-57 jets if Washington blocks the F-35 deliveries due to Turkey's decision to buy Russia's S-400 missile systems.
In late April, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu pledged that Ankara would take retaliatory measures against Washington if it blocked the deal.
In May 2017, Ankara and Lockheed Martin clinched an agreement on supplying 116 F-35A fighter jets to Turkey under the US-led, multinational Joint Strike Fighter program.
An agreement on the supply of the S-400 system to Turkey was inked by Moscow and Ankara in December 2017.
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