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US, Turkey hold new talks on F-35 'dispute resolution'

Delegations plan to meet in coming months in Washington, DC, Pentagon says

Michael Hernandez   | 27.10.2021
US, Turkey hold new talks on F-35 'dispute resolution'

WASHINGTON

The US and Turkey have held another round of talks aimed at resolving the dispute over Ankara's removal from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.

Spokesman Lt. Col. Anton Semelroth said top Pentagon officials Andrew Winternitz and Melissa Benkert led a US delegation to Ankara on Oct. 27 "for dispute resolution discussions to address remaining issues resulting from Turkey’s removal from the F-35 program, which was finalized on September 23."

They were joined by a delegation from Turkey's defense ministry, the Pentagon said.

"The meeting demonstrates the commitment of the United States Government to conclude respectfully Turkey’s prior involvement in the F-35 program," Semelroth said in a statement. "Discussions were productive, and the delegations plan to meet again in the coming months in Washington, D.C."

The US under former President Donald Trump removed Turkey from the F-35 stealth fighter program in 2019 over Ankara's purchase of Russia's advanced S-400 anti-air system, which US officials maintain poses risks to the F-35s, including the possibility that Russia could covertly use the system to obtain classified details on the jet.

Turkey has maintained it only turned to the Russian system after it failed to reach terms during protracted negotiations with the US over the acquisition of Raytheon's Patriot surface-to-air missile systems. Ankara has additionally said the S-400 poses no risk to the F-35.

Turkey ordered some 100 F-35s, and its defense sector played prominently in the development and manufacture of the fifth-generation fighter jets.

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