White House against Turkey getting F-35 fighter jets
WASHINGTON — The White House said Turkey’s continued participation in the F-35 fighter jet program is now “impossible” because of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to begin receiving parts for a Russianmade missile defense system.
“The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” according to a White House statement on Wednesday.
It’s a move President Donald Trump has made clear he was reluctant to take, telling reporters on Tuesday that “it is a very tough situation that they are in, and it’s a tough situation that we have been placed in, the United States.”
The Trump administration’s decision is separate from economic sanctions Trump might impose on Turkey through the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA. Those penalties range from limiting the size of American bank loans to Turkish entities to more severe efforts such as cutting off access to the U.S. financial system, an unlikely step that would shatter the already-fragile Turkish economy.
Turkey, with its planned purchases of about 100 of the F-35s made by Lockheed Martin Corp., is one of the four top foreign customers for the world’s costliest weapons program, along with Japan, Australia and the U.K. Ten Turkish companies may be suspended from making more than 900 parts for the F-35 that over the program’s lifetime could generate more than $9 billion in orders. Turkey’s first two jets were to have been delivered later this year.
The Pentagon said last month that Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program would end by July 31.
Despite having the second-biggest military in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Turkey has increasingly been at odds in recent years with the U.S. and the West.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech Oct. 23, 2018, in Ankara, Turkey.