Turkey’s security bureaucracy already has alternative plans in case the United States halts the delivery of the F-35 jets over Ankara’s decision to buy S-400 missile systems and has been considering Russian Su-57 or Chinese J-31 stealth fighters as possible options, pro-government Yeni Şafak daily said on Sunday.
As a last move of Washington’s increased pressure on Ankara to cancel the S-400 deal with Moscow, the Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan sent a letter to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar on Thursday detailing how Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program will be all but suspended as of July 31, unless Turkey withdraws from its planned purchase of Russian defence systems.
In April, the United States froze a joint F-35 manufacturing program with Turkey, which produces 6-7 percent of the parts for the fighter jets, while there is a bipartisan support in U.S. Congress to halt the delivery of 100 F-35 jets Turkey plans to buy from the United States, in case Ankara goes ahead with S-400 acquisition plans.
CNBC reported last month that Washington had told Ankara to decide by early June to either cancel its acquisition of Russia’s S-400 missile systems and buy U.S.-made Patriots or risk expulsion from an advanced U.S. fighter jet program, U.S. sanctions and possible blowback from NATO.
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