WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States has officially notified Turkey that it has been removed from the F-35 advanced jet fighter program following the latter’s refusal to forgo the Russian-made S-400 air defense system. The U.S. and other NATO countries consider the integration of the S-400 air defense system a serious security threat to the NATO air assets, including the F-35.
It was reported earlier this year 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.
Those efforts seem to have failed.
Jessica R. Maxwell, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense tells Ahval that, “Our position has not changed. The S-400 is incompatible with F-35 and Turkey has been suspended from the program. We continue to move forward with process of formally removing Turkey from F-35 partnership, as announced in July 2019.”
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2006 has since been scraped by Washington, and a new MOU has been signed by the remaining eight f-35 program partners: The United States, United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Norway, and Denmark.
Turkey had been planning to buy 100 F-35s, but the United States has refused to deliver the four completed jets after its suspension from the program.
Last July, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that the U.S. Air Force would purchase eight modern F-35 jet fighters originally intended to be delivered to Turkey.