Pentagon stops delivery of F-35 to Turkey

Pentagon has suspended the delivery of all the equipment related to F-35 fighter jets to Turkey as latter is accepting the delivery of Russian missile defence system. This move has come after repeated warnings from the US to Turkey, that if latter goes to buy Russian S-400 system it will compromise the security of the F-35 aircraft which has manufactured by US company Lockheed Martin.

US officials have told media that the next shipment which was supposed to carry the training equipment and all other subsequent shipments of F-35 stand cancelled due to the unequivocal decision of Turkey to continue with the S-400 delivery. Turkey who is also a NATO member and a partner in the production of the stealth jet has categorically stated that it will not back down on its planned purchase. The US move has actually followed an announcement by the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, that Ankara remains committed to buying of the Russian jets.

The delivery of F-35 jets is the latest diplomatic tuft between the US and Turkey. Both the countries are already at odds over its Middle East policy which also includes the Syrian conflict, the Iranian sanctions. Turkey has also demanded that Fethullah Gulen is extradited by the US to Turkey. Gulen is a former imam and has been accused by Turkey for organising a coup against the Turkish government. The US decision on F-35 jets will further complicate Cavisoglu’s scheduled trip to Washington this week for a NATO Summit.

Washington is also reportedly considering to remove Turkey from the list of producers of F-35. Turkey is involved in making parts of the fuselage, landing gear and cockpit displays of the plane. In order to dissuade Ankara from going ahead with the Russian deal, the US had offered the much higher priced US-manufactured Patriot anti-missile system at a slashed price. Turkey did show interest in the offer but not at the cost of Russian S-400. US offer expired ending March.

The Turkish government is facing a tough time at home especially as the ruling party has registered a defeat on three major cities of the nation in a recent local election. The next Presidential election will be held in 2023 and till then the President has to try hard to keep his waning support base.





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