After days of silence about whether Turkey will be punished for accepting a Russian-made air defense system, U.S. President Donald Trump has made it clear: Turkey will now be cut off from the F-35.
“And we are now telling Turkey … we’re not going to sell you the F-35 fighter jets,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday, making clear that he was reluctant about the decision.
Trump expressed sympathy toward Turkey’s decision to purchase the Russian system, though Washington has repeatedly said that the Russian system is incompatible with NATO systems and is a threat to the F-35. He portrayed the Obama administration as refusing to sell Turkey an American alternative, the Patriot missile defense system, until after the S-400 purchase was complete.
“It’s a very tough situation that they’re in. And it’s a very tough situation that we’ve been placed in the United States,” Trump said. “With all of that being said, we’re working through it. We’ll see what happens, but it’s not really fair.”
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