F-35 Delivery To Turkey Is Officially Delayed By Congress

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F-35 Delivery To Turkey Is Officially Delayed By Congress

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File

Transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey is now officially delayed by 90 days. Currently, no F-35 aircraft have arrived in Turkey. The formal delivery on June 21st during the Ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas has not brought any jets under Turkish control.

Following the reveal of a draft 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, US Defense Secretary is to prepare an extensive report on Turkish-American relations and Turkey’s role in the F-35 program. The initial threats of sanctions on F-35 deliveries were reduced with the purpose of reducing obstacles that may have caused an operational impact on the program, the Daily Sabah reports.

The Defense Secretary’s report is to include an assessment of the presence of US diplomatic and military activities within Turkey. It will also contain an assessment of the impact of the potential purchase of the Almaz-Antey S-400 Trium surface to air-missile system by Turkey.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had warned Congress against cutting off transfers of the F-35 in a latter to lawmakers on July 7th. He stated that he “with congressional concerns about the authoritarian drift in Turkey and its impact on human rights and rule of law.” But he said an F-35 cutoff would risk triggering an international “supply chain disruption” that would drive up costs and delay deliveries for up to 18-24 months.

The proposal for delays was introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Thom Tillis. US lawmakers, as reported by ABC News, have expressed concerns regarding Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Edrogan’s embrace of authoritarianism within Turkey. ABC news also claimed that the measure, proposed by Shaheen and Tillis, in the defense bill is a specific retaliation to the imprisonment of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson and other Americans. However, the draft bill has, according to the Daily Sabah, removed the language which states that and has instead rationalizes the delay with Turkey’s intention to purchase the S-400 systems. The report specifically says: “The conferees believe the Department of Defense should be prepared for all potential outcomes that would result if Turkey completes a purchase of the S-400 by conducting the assessment required of a significant change in Turkish participation in the F-35 program, including a reduction or elimination of such participation.”

Hurriyet daily news reported on July 24th that Ankara said was not expecting any problems with the delivery of the F-35 jets, despite the decision to block the sale of the aircraft. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, when asked about the bill by reporters answered: “Following the bill’s passing [in the U.S. Senate], this issue, as you know, is completely at the disposal of U.S. President [Donald Trump]. During our meeting in Brussels, Mr. Trump has also shown us the written statement he made. Such an issue [the banning of the delivery of F-35 jets] is out of question,” referring to his meeting with President Donald Trump on July 11th at the NATO summit in Brussels.

The Turkish president also spoke in front of reporters after the July 23rd Congress decision: “We have made a $900 million payment so far [for the sale of the F-35 jets]. And the delivery of two of them was made to us there [at the defense contractor Lockheed Martin’s headquarters in Fort Worth in Texas]. And our pilots are now conducting their training flights [in Luke Air Force Base in Arizona]. We do not have any concerns at this point.”

The Daily Sabah reported that the Turkish embassy in Washington also lobbied against the decision.

An anonymous Turkish diplomatic source quoted by the Daily Sabah also said that the delivery freeze is unimportant and that the Pentagon could prepare the report in a single day.

Talks about sanctions on F-35 have been going on since May 2018. As reported by Defense News, Ankara has vowed reprisals if US congress passes a bill that prevents the sale of the fighter jets on May 6th. Regarding the removal of a NATO ally from the sale, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy, as reported by Ahval said “According to agreement, everybody has a mission and we expect everyone to fulfill these missions. Such steps are breach of the spirit of our alliance with the U.S. As our minister stated, if such steps are taken, we will have no other choice but to respond accordingly.”

On June 4th, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, as reported by the Daily Sabah, has said that Turkey will engage in diplomacy with other nations for fighter aircraft and increase efforts to build its own if US break the F-35. He further warned that Turkey would not accept threats regarding its plan to purchase the S-400 missile system from Russia.

On June 21st, Turkey received its first F-35 in a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas. Rudaw reported that Turkish General Reha Ufuk Er said: “F-35 is set to become the major strike aircraft of the Turkish airforce. As being the bulwark on the alliance’s southern flank, Turkey’s strengthening airpower will significantly augment the alliance’s air capabilities and contribute greatly to regional and global stability.” Rudaw, further reports that Turkey’s undersecretariat for defense industries Serdar Demirel emphasized that the US-Turkish defense industry partnership is not just limited to F-35 and that it has existed for long years, adding that he hopes it would continue to do so.

Furthermore, on June 21st, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu no jets will arrive in Turkey until 2020. His exact words are “There will be training works until 2020. The arrival of the jets in Turkey will be in 2020.”

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  • You can call me Al

    “But he said an F-35 cutoff would risk triggering an international “supply chain disruption” that would drive up costs and delay deliveries for up to 18-24 months.” …….. What a load of tosh; looks like the deliveries are already late.

    “Turkey’s strengthening airpower will significantly augment the alliance’s air capabilities and contribute greatly to regional and global stability.”……… same old BS chestnut.

    “The arrival of the jets in Turkey will be in 2020.” ……. it’ll be a rust bucket by then.

    These are a couple of good, comprehensive and well written articles, regards the F-35 lame duck.

    https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/f-35-lightning-the-joint-strike-fighter-program-edit-037947/

    https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/06/05/watchdog-group-to-pentagon-fix-f-35-tech-problems-before-full-rate-production-starts/

  • Brother Ma

    You can never trust the Americans to even do business with you even though they love talking about capitalism and deals!

    Turkey like Australia and Canada is not only a buyer of the F35 but a fellow PARTNER in its making. It invested money in it as a consortium for research.

    I have no love for Turkey but i think it is a dirty trick indeed to keep their money as well. If you wont sell it to them at least give them back their seed capital !

    Two faced-Yanquis!

    Apart from that typical bs face -saving and bluster from Turk talking-heads.

    • New Israel is Muslim

      The jews in Washington took R&D money from Turkey for years. And sold Turkey ONE f-35, then are trying to prevent Erdogan getting any more because Erdogan is too friendly to Russia and Putin. They allowed one to be sold so Turkey can’t claim in court, all their R&D money was stolen because they have no f-35s promised/contracted. So the jews sold that one f-35 to steal all the money Turkey has in the f-35 program. With jews you lose.

      If Putin were for real, and an anti-zionist and a true Amerikkka hater, and not some jew puppet like Putin is being best friends with Netanyahu, Erdogan could have sold the f-35 to Russia in protest of being jewed out of money. But since Israhell and Russia share technology and Israhell is on TeamRussia and Teamjewsmerica, better put but Russia and Jewamerica are on TeamJew, it is better for Erdogan to keep the f-35 and test how to defeat it because Erdogan who was democratically elected is labeled a dicator like Putin is, another one democratically elected. Putin and Erdogan get numbers at the ballot box similiar to Reagan’s landslide in 1984 with no evidence of fraud, and they are labeled “dictator” and Trumpstein who is a pawn of Netanyahu is the real dictator.

    • rfytgiuhiojokkj

      Don’t worry the moment Turkey is excluded from the F-35 program Italy and the UK will then withdraw themselves and focus on a European alternative.

      • Brother Ma

        Good . That will be the best decision of the decade for those countries. The money saved will be worth two Brexits! Also,the yanquis would have Trojan Horses in the fighters anyway so they could remotely disable them to stop them being used in defence against the Yanquis or their friends!

        • rfytgiuhiojokkj

          Except Turkey also has electronic components in US Airforce F-35’s

          • Brother Ma

            Good point but maybe the yanquis can swap them out when they want but the turks cannot because the Yanquis have made theirs to be critical components of the f35.

          • rfytgiuhiojokkj

            Except Turkey is not placeing sole reliance on the F-35. Turkey is also acquiring Russian Fighters and developing the TF-X.

  • russ

    We aren’t going to send the world’s most expensive military boondoggle to Turkey??? and this punishes them how???

    • as

      They’ll done more damage with the aircraft delivered and commissioned than with it sitting and rusting in their storage.

      • rfytgiuhiojokkj

        Turkey does not need the aircraft to compromise the F-35 if it wanted to. As a JSF consortium partner involved in the development of the aircraft Turkey already posses classified information relating to it. The Pentagon itself has confirmed this.

  • New Israel is Muslim

    Turkey has their own indigenous stealth fighter the TAI TF-X program. The British are involved and the Russians have some interest joining in. And then there is the J-31, which is supposed to be half the cost of the f-35.

    • rfytgiuhiojokkj

      There is also the PAK-FA and Su-57.

      The looser will be the US in the end and Turkey knows this very well.

    • Brother Ma

      Isn’t that the Chinese copy of the f -thirty five. The one where they stole the plans and built it much cheaper and better!