Jun 19 2018

Turkey blasts US Senate decision to block F-35 fighter jets sale to Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Tuesday blasted a U.S. Senate decision to block the sale of 100 F-35 fighter jets to Turkey due to the country’s decision to purchase the S-400 missile defence system from Russia, pro-government NTV news site reported.

U.S. Senate’s Monday evening vote will prohibit the transfer of F-35 fighter jets, the first of which the United States is scheduled to deliver later this month, due to Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems that are criticized for being incompatible with NATO systems, in addition to the continued detainment of U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey’s Western Aegean province of İzmir on terror charges.

“The decision is an unfortunate development,” Yıldırım  said, noting that the ''regrettable'' step does not leave Turkey without alternatives for the Lockheed-Martin produced fighter jets.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu earlier this month said that if Washington decides against the sale of F-35s to Turkey, then it would buy aircraft from a second country or produce its own.

There is talk in Turkey’s pro-government circles that with the future of Turkey’s F-35 jets up in the air, Turkey has been eyeing Russia's Su-57 "stealth" fighter jet. 

 In order for the U.S. Senate bill to become law, it must be reconciled with one already passed by the House of Representatives before it is passed by both chambers and signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump.