Turkey to receive first F-35 fighter jets despite US Senate decision: FM
Photo: Anadolu Agency
Turkey expects that the United States will deliver the first F-35 joint strike fighters on June 21 with a ceremony despite the U.S. Senate decision to block the procurement of the aircraft to the Turkish government, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said.
“There have been attempts in the U.S. parliament regarding the F-35 delivery. Two fighters will be delivered to us on June 21 and there are also attempts [to block this delivery]. We can’t sustain a healthy relationship as such,” Çavuşoğlu said on June 19 during a live interview with the private broadcaster NTV.
“Come and let’s talk like we did in Manbij. Turkey is an important ally and it cannot be in any entity that would risk NATO. They should not test sanctions by making an excuse of it,” he added.
The Turkish army started June 18 patrolling the northern Syrian town of Manbij, with the military announcing the start of a crucial stage of a deal agreed with the United States.
The U.S. Senate on June 18 passed a $716 billion defense policy bill including an amendment prohibiting sales to Turkey of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin Corp.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 85-10 for the annual National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which stipulates that U.S. President Donald Trump should certify that Turkey does not threaten NATO, purchase defense equipment from Russia or detain U.S. citizens.
Senators included the legislation because of the imprisonment of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey’s Aegean province of İzmir on terror charges and the Turkish government’s decision to purchase S-400 air defense system from Russia.