The Biden Administration will not lift the Trump Administration’s ban on Turkey from acquiring F-35 stealth fighters, in response to Ankara’s 2019 purchase of the advanced Russian-400 air defense system, a senior Pentagon official said Friday. .
“Turkey is a long-time and valued NATO ally, but its decision to buy the S-400 is inconsistent with its commitments as an ally of the United States and NATO,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during a press conference on January 29. “Our position has not changed. The S-400 is incompatible with the F-35 and Turkey has been excluded from this program. We urge Turkey not to maintain the S-400 system. “
Much of the language used by Kirby was identical to how Pentagon officials characterized the decision to ban Turkey from the multi-million dollar project in July 2019.
“Turkey had multiple opportunities in the past decade to buy the US Patriot defense system and instead chose to buy the S-400, which provides Russia with income, access and influence,” Kirby said.
In December, the Trump Administration sanctioned Turkey for the purchase of this missile system.
For its part, Turkey had long had plans to buy more than 100 F-35s, but had only formally requested 30 when Washington excluded Ankara from the project.
The US Air Force said last year it would purchase the Turkish jets already built, but not delivered, by defense contractor Lockheed Martin. However, Turkish companies are expected to continue to manufacture and supply parts of the F-35 to Lockheed until 2022, in accordance with the terms of the initial partnership, which includes this form of cooperation.
Fte. Defense One