White House against Tur­key get­ting F-35 fighter jets

Lodi News-Sentinel - - LOCAL/NATION - By Tony Ca­pac­cio

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.

DEPO PHO­TOS/ZUMA PRESS FILE PHO­TO­GRAPH

Tur­key’s Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan de­liv­ers a speech Oct. 23, 2018, in Ankara, Tur­key.

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