Pentagon: Turkey to remain outside F-35 jet fighter program

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense John Kirby confirmed that Turkey will remain outside the F-35 fighter program and will not be allowed to purchase the advanced next-generation jet fighter, adding that the U.S. Administration’s policy on this issue has not changed.

Kirby reiterated the U.S.’s call for Turkey to abandon the Russian-made S-400 air defense system, explaining that integration of the F-35 into the S-400 system will compromise the program and the security of all NATO allies.

He also stressed that Turkey had more than one opportunity to buy a U.S. defense system. However, Turkey chose the Russian system, providing the Russian state with export revenue and influence.

It was reported last week that Ankara-based defense company SSTEK Savunma Sanayi Teknolojiler (Defense Industry Technologies) has hired Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm Arnold & Porter for a six month period at a cost of $750,000 for strategic advice and outreach to U.S. commercial partners and stakeholders in the F-35 program, likely seeking to be readmitted to the program after it was removed following Turkish unilateral decision to purchase the Russian-made S-400 air defense system.