The Biden administration will not lift the Trump administration’s ban on Turkey buying F-35 stealth fighters, a punishment for Ankara’s 2019 purchase of a Russian air-defense system, a senior Pentagon official said Friday.
“Turkey is a longstanding and valued NATO ally, but their decision to purchase the S-400 is inconsistent with Turkey’s commitments as a U.S. and NATO ally,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during a Friday afternoon press briefing. “Our position has not changed. The S-400 is incompatible with the F-35 and Turkey has been suspended from that program. We urge Turkey not to retain the S-400 system.”
Much of the language used by Kirby was identical to how Pentagon officials characterized the decision to ban Turkey from the multibillion-dollar project in July 2019.
“Turkey had multiple opportunities over the last decade to purchase the Patriot defense system from the United States and instead chose to purchase the S-400, which provides Russia revenue, access and influence,” Kirby said.
In December, the Trump administration sanctioned Turkey for buying the missile system.
Turkey had long planned to buy upward of 100 jets, but had only ordered 30 when Washington booted Ankara from the project. The U.S. Air Force last year said it would buy the Turkish jets already built, but not delivered, by defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Turkish companies are expected to continue manufacturing and supplying F-35 parts to Lockheed through 2022.
Source: Defense One