Turkey Vows to Take Legal Action if US Blocks F-35 Deliveries
18:41 31.07.2018(updated 19:21 31.07.2018)
Previously, the 2019 US defense policy bill revealed that Washington had temporarily frozen the transfer of F-35 jets to Turkey, which the country has already paid for.
"The F-35 is an international project and Turkey will take legal measures if any steps are taken to prevent the supply of the F-35," an official representative of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, stated, as quoted by the newspaper Sabah.
US F-35 deliveries to Turkey have reportedly been temporarily frozen due to the conflict over the latter's acquisition of Russian S-400 air defense systems.
The proposed amendment to the 2019 US defense policy bill concerning the supply of F-35 jets to Ankara specifies that the decision on the F-35 will be taken after the Pentagon delivers an assessment as to how canceling the delivery of the planes would impact relations between the two countries. Some of the measures, listed in the defense bill, have still not been approved by Congress.
Turkey has been a participant in the development of the F-35 from the very beginning, with some parts of the fifth generation jet being produced in the country. However, Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems has sparked great concern in Washington, which fears that Moscow could use the systems to detect vulnerabilities of the F-35 and access sensitive data regarding NATO.
Ankara has blasted US efforts to disrupt the delivery of the F-35s, reminding Washington that Turkey has already paid Lockheed Martin for part of its order for 100 F-35s. Turkish officials repeatedly told Washington that the country has a right to self-defense and explained that it would buy NATO air defense systems if Ankara were to receive an appropriate offer.
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