Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Doubts US Will Remove Ankara From F-35 Jet Programme
Turkish parliamentary speaker Mustafa Sentop has argued, in a comment to Sputnik, that the United States will not follow through on its threat to kick Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet programme over Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems.
“Turkey being kicked on the sidelines and saying we are not providing F35 is scandalous as far as the international trade… is concerned. I don’t think at the end of the day something like that will be happening”, he said.
Sentop pointed out that the United States could not legally remove Turkey from the F-35 training programme because it helped build and paid for the aircraft.
“F35 project has partners and Turkey is one of those partners. Therefore the US doesn’t own that project 100%, it is not [as] if they are selling something [that is] 100% their own”, he noted.
He speculated that the United States had a hidden political agenda when it came to the S-400 dispute. He said Greece and Bulgaria had an earlier version of S-400 missiles but NATO did not seem to have an issue with them.
The United States claims that S-400 systems are not compatible with NATO defences and may compromise the F-35 stealthy jet project. Washington said in June it would not accept more Turkish pilots for F-35 training unless it abandoned the agreement with Russia.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated on 29 June during a briefing at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, that Ankara will not step back on the S-400 deal with Russia. He also stressed that his country had paid for F-35 fighters and expects them to be delivered.