Feb 20 2019

Turkey rebuffs U.S. offer for Patriot systems

The United States will deliver two F-35 fighter jets to Turkey next month, Reuters reported the chairman of Turkey's Defence Industry Directorate Ismail Demir as saying on Wednesday on pro-government news channel NTV. Turkey already received two F-35 jets from the U.S. last year and Demir said next month, Turkey will receive two more. However, two jets are still in the U.S. for Turkish pilots' training.

Turkey ordered more than 100 F-35 new generation fighter jets and so far has taken none to Turkey. Turkish pilots have been trained in the U.S. for the F-35s.

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a spending bill that includes blocking transfers of F-35s to Turkey until November 1st, 2019 to give a plenty of time to see if the Russian S-400 air defense system will be delivered to Turkey. The U.S. officials have publicly declared that the U.S. cannot deliver F-35s to Turkey in case of Turkey going ahead receiving the S-400s from Russia due to worries that F-35s' sensitive data might be gathered by the Russian radars. 

According to the same interview, Demir also ruled out the American Patriot defense systems as it currently stands and stated that delivery process of S-400 to Turkey will start by July 2019 and the system will be active by October of 2019.

Erdoğan, in a speech on Monday repeated three conditions for the purchase of the Patriots: technology transfer, co-production and financial support. 

President Trump last Friday nominated David Satterfield as the new ambassador for Ankara post. Satterfield will face confirmation hearings at the Hill. It is expected many of the thorny issues between countries from the Syrian Kurdish issue to extradition of cleric Fethullah Gülen will be discussed during the hearings.