Tuesday, June 25, 2019 | ePaper

US gives Turkey till end of July to backtrack on Russian missile deal

  • Print


People walk past Russian S-400 missile air defence systems before the military parade to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battle of Stalingrad.



The United States on Friday gave Turkey until the end of July to abandon its purchase of a major Russian missile defense system, which Washington considers incompatible with Ankara's participation in the F-35 fighter jet program.
If by July 31 Turkey does not renounce the S-400 system, Turkish pilots training in the United States on the F-35 will be expelled, and agreements with Turkish firms subcontracted for manufacturing the F-35 stealth warplane will be cancelled, Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters.
Lord said the deadline "will allow sufficient time for Turkish personnel associated with the F-35 program to be reassigned and depart the United States... to facilitate an orderly cessation of Turkish participation."
She justified the US ultimatum by the fact that Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, had already sent its personnel to Russia to start training with the S-400.
On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was "determined" to proceed with the Russia deal.
US officials have said they expected Turkey to opt for the American Patriot air defense system instead, arguing that would allow the F-35 program to continue.
Turkey plans to buy 100 US F-35s and its defense industry has invested significantly in the warplanes' production.
Erdogan said he told the US that Ankara would take steps to buy Patriots only if Washington's conditions of delivery were as positive as Moscow's.
"But unfortunately we haven't received a positive proposal from the American side on the subject of Patriots like the S-400s from Russia," he said.
Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said he had sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar informing him of Washington's decision. The US offer for the Patriots was "very competitive," Shanahan told reporters.
The F-35s are designed to operate in sync and in real-time with NATO's military systems, including anti-missile defenses, raising US fears that Russia could fine-tune the S-400's capacities against the Western alliance through information gleaned in Turkey.
The United States in June 2018 "delivered" four of the F-35s to Turkey but kept the planes in the United States, officially to train the Turkish pilots.
If Turkey does not renounce the deal with Russia by July 31, Turkish companies-which make 937 different parts of the F-35 -- will be granted no further subcontracts with their roles reassigned to other firms, Lord said.
Of the components, around 400 are made only in Turkey, notably landing gear parts and titanium rotor blades.
Aeronautics giant Lockheed Martin and engine maker Pratt & Whitney have already started to seek new suppliers, although Turkish companies will be able to finish orders that were already in the works, Lord said.
She said that Turkey's participation would be finished by early 2020.
"Turkey still has the option to change course," she said.
"If Turkey does not accept delivery of the S-400, we will enable Turkey to return to normal," she said.
Launched in the 1990s, the F-35 is the most expensive program in the history of the US military. The Pentagon estimates its cost at $400 billion, with a goal of manufacturing nearly 2,500 planes in the decades to come.
Tensions have been on the rise in recent years between the United States and Turkey as Erdogan increasingly seeks a major role in the Islamic world.
Turkey has pressed President Donald Trump to remove US troops from Syria but the United States has worried over the fate of US-allied Kurdish fighters, who are linked by Erdogan to separatists at home.
Removing one impediment to ties, Turkey last week freed a NASA scientist with dual citizenship, the second American released after being rounded up in Erdogan's sweeping crackdown following a failed 2016 coup.

More News For this Category

Memes, cartoons and caustic Cantonese: the language of Hong Kong's protests

Memes, cartoons and caustic Cantonese: the language of Hong Kong's protests

AFP :Viral artwork pummelling city leaders, clever word plays and Cantonese cursing that would make a sailor blush-Hong Kongers have displayed a characteristically riotous embrace of satire during their huge

Vietnam jails US national for 'state overthrow plot'

Vietnam jails US national for 'state overthrow plot'

A court in Vietnam has sentenced a US citizen to 12 years in prison after finding him guilty of attempting to "overthrow the state".Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen, 55, had admitted

Saudi women use wedding contracts to assert right to drive

Saudi women use wedding contracts to assert right to drive

AFP, Dammam :Saudi salesman Majd had just begun his wedding preparations when his fiancee sought to enshrine in their marriage contract a condition already guaranteed by law-her right to drive.Wedding

Iran denies US cyber attack ahead of new sanctions

Iran denies US cyber attack ahead of new sanctions

AFP  :Iran denied Monday it was hit by a US cyber attack as Washington was due to tighten sanctions on Tehran in a standoff sparked by the US withdrawal from

Mike Pompeo Arrives In Saudi Arabia For Iran crisis talk

AFP, Jeddah: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived Monday in Saudi Arabia for talks on coordinating with the close ally amid mounting tensions with Iran.Pompeo is expected to meet

Turkey opposition deals blow to Erdogan in Istanbul win

Turkey opposition deals blow to Erdogan in Istanbul win

AFP  :Turkey's opposition revelled Monday in a landslide win in Istanbul's re-run mayoral vote-a blow for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that even some pro-government media called a victory for democracy.Ekrem

Trump's son-in-law's economic plan for ME peace faces Arab rejection

Trump's son-in-law's economic plan for ME peace faces Arab rejection

Reuters, Riyadh :US President Donald Trump's economic vision as part of the wider plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was met with contempt, repudiation and exasperation in the Arab world,

UK's Boris Johnson under pressure to explain domestic 'row'

UK's Boris Johnson under pressure to explain domestic 'row'

Boris Johnson, the strong favourite to become Britain's next prime minister, came under pressure from figures in his own party on Sunday to explain reports of a domestic 'row' that

North Korean leader receives 'excellent' letter from Trump: KCNA

North Korean leader receives 'excellent' letter from Trump: KCNA

AFP, Seoul :North Korean leader Kim Jong Un received a personal letter of "excellent content" from US President Donald Trump, the country's state media said Sunday, amid a nuclear deadlock

US conducted cyber attack on Iran in response to drone downing: Report

US conducted cyber attack on Iran in response to drone downing: Report

The United States launched cyber attacks against Iranian missile control systems and a spy network after Tehran downed an American surveillance drone, according to US media reports.US president Donald Trump