Having repeatedly sending F-16 fighter jets into Greek airspace, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pressing for the United States to allow his country to buy F-35’s while going ahead with plans to buy a Russian S-400 missile defense system.
Greek-American and Diaspora groups and Hellenophiles in the Congress, led by New Jersey Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez, want to block the sale of the F-35s critics said could be used against Greece which ironically now has its closest ties ever to Washington.
That came after Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras dropped his anti-American and anti-NATO positions just as he reneged on anti-austerity promises and surrendered to the demands of European creditors to get an 86-billion euro ($96.6 billion) third bailout in the summer of 2015.
Erdogan said the F-35 project would collapse if Turkey did not participate, and that it would be an injustice to exclude his country over its plan to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system, said Reuters, although the US fears the fighter jet design could be compromised by Turkey having both.
President Donald Trump and Erdogan were said to have talked about setting up a working group to discuss whether Turkey could get the jets as the American leader is keen to sell weapons to almost anyone, although US intelligence is reportedly anxious and sanctions on Turkey were on the table if Erdogan persisted.
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