Pentagon warns F35 deal with Turkey in jeopardy

F-35 independence day drill
U.S. Commander Warns No F-35s if Turkey Buys Russian S-400 Missiles AP Ariel Schalit6 Mar 2019

11 March, 2019

Prioritizing airspace security, Turkey responded positively to Russia's offer and purchased the S-400 air defense system.

"We have reached an agreement with the Russians", Erdogan said.

Summers said the United States may also block Ankara from purchasing Patriot missile systems.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in a statement regarding Turkey's purchase of the S-400 system, said it is the national decisions of countries to develop their military capabilities and added that for NATO, the most important thing is that "the different systems can work together".

The comments came a few days after U.S. European Command head Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said it would be his best military advice to bar Turkey from getting the F-35, should they continue on the path of procuring the S-400.

Russian Federation and Turkey penned a $2.5-billion contract on four battalions of S-400s in December 2017, with the first of the systems set to arrive later this year.

Erdogan added that first delivery of the S-400 would be made in July.

According to media reports in recent weeks, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country is determined to go through with a deal to purchase S-400 missile-defense systems from Russian Federation, despite opposition from Washington. Besides Turkey, Russia has also agreed to sell the S-400 system to India and Saudi Arabia.

"We will move toward a joint production".

In a speech in Munich last month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence declared that the Trump administration has "made it clear that we will not stand idly by while North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies purchase weapons from our adversaries".

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The State Department approved in December a possible $3.5 billion sale of Patriot systems to Turkey that includes advanced radar systems, control centers, launching systems and guided missiles.

Chief Pentagon spokesperson Charles Summers told reporters on Friday that there would be "grave consequences" to the military relationship between the USA and Turkey should Ankara buy the Russian anti-aircraft missile system.

The last diplomatic crisis between the two countries contributed to driving the lira to a record low in August.

Turkish and Russian patrols have begun in Syria's northwestern Idlib region as part of a deal agreed previous year, Turkey's defence minister has said.

This week, despite the Central Bank maintaining interest rates well above inflation, Turkey's currency has fallen 1.5 percent - largely due to renewed concerns over relations with Washington, traders say.

But recent moves by the country to deepen ties with Russian Federation have raised concerns among U.S. lawmakers.

United States defense officials have long insisted that using both F-35 and S-400 is impossible without compromising the stealth jet's classified features.

Russian Federation has utilised the S-400 system in its military operations in Syria.

Washington delivered the first F-35s to Turkey in June last year, but other planes remain in the USA while their Turkish pilots undergo training, a process which the Pentagon says could take two years.

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