Erdogan spokesman Kalin says discussed F-35 letter with Bolton on phone

Lester Mason
June 13, 2019

USA acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan outlined last week how Turkey would be pulled out of the F-35 fighter jet programme unless Ankara changed course from its plans to purchase the S-400 missile defence system.

The purchase has raised eyebrows among Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and provoked anger in Washington, which expected Ankara to opt for the American Patriot air defence system instead.

Erdogan, in a June 12 television address, vowed to seek answers from Washington on his country's "exclusion from F-35 project for reasons that have no rational or legitimate basis". It is working on a response to be sent in the coming days, according to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar.

Erdogan, however, hopes to persuade Washington not to exclude his country from the F-35 program when he meets US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan on June 28-29.

Washington says the S-400 pose a threat to the F-35 jets.

Turkey's President Erdogan says he hopes a Russian missile system that Washington sees as a threat to USA jets will be delivered in July.

Taking note of Washington's concerns, Turkey has proposed measures to investigate whether or not the purchase of the Russian missile systems would actually pose a danger to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation produced F-35s, including a joint working group with the U.S. to study the issue.

Earlier this month, Erdogan said Turkey had also been discussing a U.S. offer to sell Patriot missiles. He noted that Turkey is also a manufacturing partner in the programme.

"This is not an attack system but a defense system".

"We have so far paid $1.250bn", he said. "Won't we take necessary measures to defend our country?" he said.

"These regard first of all the completion of the contract to supply S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Turkey", Putin said before suggesting that there were other military projects in the pipeline.

The US has also threatened to hit Turkey with sanctions if it goes ahead with the deal.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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