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‘First Concrete Step’: US Halts F-35 Equipment Shipments To Turkey Over S-400 Deal

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'First Concrete Step': US Halts F-35 Equipment Shipments To Turkey Over S-400 Deal

A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (Reuters Photo)

The US has halted delivery of equipment related to the F-35 fighter jet to Turkey, the country’s pro-government daily Daily Sabah reported on April 1 citing “sources familiar with the situation”.

The report described this situation as “the first concrete U.S. step to block delivery of the jet to the NATO ally in light of Ankara’s planned purchase of a Russian missile defense system.”

“In recent days, U.S. officials told their Turkish counterparts they will not receive further shipments of F-35 related equipment needed to prepare for the arrival of the stealthy jet, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters. The aircraft is built by Lockheed Martin Corp.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the next shipment of training equipment, and all subsequent shipments of F-35 related material, have been canceled,” the daily elaborated.

Earlier, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has refused to abort Ankara’s planned purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system. The US is fiercely opposing this deal claiming that it would compromise the security of F-35 aircraft. According to Turkish sources, the delivery of S-400 systems is expected in July.

Last year, US President Donald Trump signed a bill blocking the F-35 fighter jets transfer to Turkey, but the F-35 Joint Program Office said it would execute the transfer according to existing plans. Last week, four US Senators introduced another bipartisan bill to prohibit the transfer until Turkey agrees to abandon the S-400 deal. This seems to not happen. Therefore, the US will have to make a final decision to ban the F-35 delivery or to accept that it cannot deal with its ‘NATO allies’ with ultimatums only.

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