S400 row deepens between Turkey, US

Turkish and american national flags on an flagpole - Görsel
S400 row deepens between Turkey, US

In a phone conversation, Turkish Defense Minister talked to his U.S. counterpart, reacting against a letter removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program. According to a written statement released from the ministry, Akar said the letter does not suit the spirit of alliance. Patrick Shanahan said last week in a letter to Akar that the F-35 fighter jet training program for Turkish pilots would end late July. However, on Monday, Pentagon had grounded Turkey’s F-35 pilots at a U.S. air base in Arizona, the department told Reuters, in a move to curb Ankara’s involvement in the F35 jet program after Turkey’s plans to purchase S-400, Russian air defence system. The U.S. says Turkey cannot buy both. “The department is aware that the Turkish pilots … are not flying,” Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, a Pentagon spokesman, told Reuters. “Without a change in Turkish policy, we will continue to work closely with our Turkish ally on winding down their participation in the F-35 program,” he added. According to Reuters, another U.S. official who asked not to be named said the department halted the training over safety concerns.