Turkey, US discuss ousting from F-35 program
On Wednesday, Washington announced it was taking Turkey out of F-35 stealth fighter jet program
Senior Turkish and U.S officials on Thursday discussed Turkey’s suspension from the F-35 program, according to an official statement.
Turkey’s Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin had a phone conversation with U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, said the statement by Turkey’s presidential office.
Kalin expressed Turkey’s “discomfort” over the recent U.S. decision, which he said is not compatible with the previous statements of the two leaders of countries, it noted.
On Wednesday, Washington announced it was taking Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet program, following the threats to do so over Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-air system.
The statement underlined that the Turkey-U.S. relations will not follow a healthy progress with the unilateral impositions.
Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the U.S. with no success, Ankara signed a contract in 2017 to purchase the S-400s from Russia.
U.S. officials argued the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge.
Turkey, however, emphasized the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
It urged the formation of a commission to clarify any technical issues, but the U.S. failed to respond to this proposal.
The U.S. threatened sanctions over the purchase, with Turkey responding that any sanctions would be met in kind.
The delivery of S-400 components began last week and is ongoing, with 15 shipments of related equipment so far having landed in Turkey over the last six days.
Deliveries are set to continue through April 2020.
The two officials also addressed the bilateral relations and regional developments during the phone conversation.
They discussed the establishment of a planned safe zone in the northern Syria and the implementation of the Manbij road map which focuses on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group from the city in order to stabilize the region.
The bilateral trade relations and U.S. President Donald Trump's upcoming visit to Turkey -- no date set yet -- were also the topics treated over the phone.
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