US bars Turkey from F-35 fighter jet programme

Washington: White House has confirmed that Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defence systems has led to the termination of Ankara’s involvement with the F-35 programme.

“Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defence systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible,” Xinhua quoted the White House as stating on Wednesday.

The White House statement noted the F-35 jets cannot coexist with S-400 systems, arguing that its intelligence collection platform would be used to learn about the advanced capabilities of F-35 stealth fighters.

Ankara’s acceptance of the S-400 not only has detrimental impacts on Turkish interoperability with the NATO Alliance but also undermines the commitments all NATO Allies made to each other to move away from Russian systems, according to the statement.

Washington still greatly values strategic relationship with Turkey, the statement added, saying US-Turkey military-to-military relationship is strong and the two allies would continue to co-operate extensively.

The US has been actively working with Turkey to provide air defence solutions to meet its legitimate air defence needs, said the statement.

The statement, however, made no mention of possible sanctions against Turkey as required by law under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

In December 2017, Ankara and Moscow signed a USD 2.5 billion-agreement for two batteries of the S-400 system. Turkey began taking the delivery of the S-400 system Friday.