U.S. sets aside $440 million to purchase F-35s ordered by Turkey

The United States will set aside $440 million to buy back all F-35 stealth fighter jets ordered by NATO ally Turkey, Dünya newspaper reported, citing the U.S. draft budget for 2020.

U.S. legislators will create a special fund in the budget to purchase the aircraft, which will be transferred to the U.S. military, Dünya said on Tuesday.

Turkey has been suspended from a programme for the production and purchase of the F-35s after it took delivery of S-400 air defence missiles from Russia earlier this year. Turkey still hopes to buy the aircraft, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said in an interview with state-run Anadolu news agency on Monday.

Production of lots 12, 13 and 14 – designated for Turkey’s military – will be given priority in the manufacturing schedule and the aircraft will be delivered to the U.S. military instead, Dünya said.

U.S. congressmen and members of the House of Representatives sitting on the relevant budget committees also back so-called CAATSA sanctions against Turkey for its purchase of the S-400s, the newspaper reported citing a statement.

The U.S. draft budget also foresees imposing sanctions on some shipping companies involved in laying pipelines being built by Russia and Turkey to export Russian natural gas including TurkStream and Nord Stream 2, Dünya said.