Turkey has threatened to pursue fighter jets from Moscow if Washington continues to suspend its delivery of F-35 aircraft parts to Ankara. A senior military officer from Turkey told Sputnik News: “Russian fighter technology would be the first best choice if our American allies behaved in an un-allied way and questioned Turkey’s membership in the Joint Strike Fighter programme.” Washington has been piling on the pressure for its NATO ally to scrap the the S-400 deal with Russia, which would put Turkey’s own involvement with the development of the F-35 programme at risk, should Ankara continue to ignore their warning.
US President Donald Trump also warned he would introduce sanctions under the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
Lawmakers from the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee that earlier this month that should Turkey accept the S-400, “no F-35s will ever reach the Turkish soil.
And Turkish participation in the F-35 programme, including manufacturing parts, repairing and servicing the fighters, will be terminated, taking Turkish companies out of the manufacturing and supply chain for the programme”.
This came after the US froze deliveries with Ankara over their decision to purchase the S-400.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Russia’s air defence systems do not pose a threat to US stealth fighter jets.
He said: “The United States says that S-400 will increase the vulnerability of F-35 aircraft.
“We do not think so but let the experts express their opinion. We have proposed to create a joint commission, if they are so concerned about that. However, we have not received a response from the United States so far.”
He also said the S-400s will be under Ankara’s control and that the US “must understand that we need air defence systems very urgently, and if we do not receive them from our allies, then we will take them where we can”.
Mr Cavusoglu warned Turkey would not bow down to the US and would buy more Russian S-400s if Washington continues to halt the sale of them.
He told Turkish broadcaster NTV: “If the United States is willing to sell, then we’ll buy Patriots. However, if the United States doesn’t want to sell, we may buy more S-400s or other systems.
“If the F-35s don’t work out, I will again have to procure the jets I need from elsewhere.”
Referring to the Russian-made jets, he added: “There are SU-34, SU-57 and others.”
The US has attempted to dangle the US Army Patriot systems in front of Turkey to try and distract them from the F-35 stealth fighter jets.