Turkey officially kicked out of F-35 program

Posted July 18, 2019

"The F-35 can not coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities", White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham announced on Wednesday.

The White House sought to strike a conciliatory tone, however, calling Ankara a "longstanding and trusted partner and NATO Ally for over 65 years", even if the S-400 purchase "undermines the commitments" of NATO to not buy Russian weapons.

The White House confirmed Wednesday that Turkey would no longer be permitted to take part in NATO's F-35 stealth fighter jet program after it purchased a Russian missile defense system.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump declined to criticize Turkey for the S-400 purchase, falsely charging it was unfairly forced into the move by his predecessor Barack Obama.

The Pentagon had already laid out a plan to remove Turkey from the program, including halting any new training for Turkish pilots on the advanced aircraft.

She said the USA authorities have been "pretty clear ... what the ramifications could be".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other Trump administration officials had urged Turkey not to go through with the deal, noting the threat of sanctions and the expulsion from the F-35 program.

On whether the USA was putting pressure on India to scrap the deal, Mr Naik said government takes sovereign decisions based on threat perception as well as operational and technological aspects to keep the armed forces in a state of readiness.

The White House, however, sought to downplay the effects of the decision on the United States relationship with Turkey, saying that Washington still "greatly values" its strategic relationship with Ankara. If Turkey is removed, as expected, the USA will have to find alternative suppliers.

Asked several times how Turkey having an air-defense system that cannot be linked to other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation systems and could be used to spy on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation jets would not harm alliance cohesion, Trachtenberg repeated some variation of his belief that the relationship between Turkey, the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will be able to continue.

In a speech on July 15 (the third anniversary of the coup attempt), Erdoğan welcomed the first components of S-400 systems to Turkey, saying that "the S-400s are the strongest defense system against those who want to attack our country". "With all of that being said, we're working through it - we'll see what happens".

"Turkey tried very hard to buy them, and they wouldn't sell them, and this went on for a long period of time", Trump said during a Cabinet meeting, according to a White House transcript.

Investors in Turkey have been unsettled by the deal and the prospect of sanctions, a year after a dispute with Washington over the trial of a United States pastor in Turkey contributed to a financial crisis that drove Turkey's economy into recession.