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No F-35 If Turkey Buys A Russian Defense System: Gen. Curtis

WASHINGTON – The United States should not sell F-35 fighter jet to Turkey, if Ankara moves ahead with plans to buy a Russian missile defense system, General Curtis Scaparrotti, the top U.S. military commander for Europe told Congress.
According to Associated Press, the army’s commander said Tuesday that the United States should not sell its high-tech F-35 fighter to Turkey if Ankara decides to buy a Russian missile defense system.
General Curtis Scaparrotti said Turkey, a NATO member, should reconsider its plans to buy the S-400 from Russia this year or give up its future US aircraft and military systems. He said Turkey’s use of Russia’s ground-to-air missile defense system would pose a threat to the F-35.
His comments are the latest in a series of warnings that the United States has sent to Turkey regarding its proposed purchase of the S-400. The United States and other NATO allies have repeatedly complained about the purchase, saying it was not compatible with other allied systems and would pose a threat to security. The imminent purchase has aggravated the already bleak relations with Ankara, including tensions over the war in Syria.
Scaparrotti said US officials are currently in Turkey to explain the potential consequences of buying the S-400.
His best military advice would be that the US does not follow up on the sale of the F-35 and does not collaborate with an ally that acquires Russian systems that could threaten one of the most advanced technological capabilities of the US military.
This poses a problem for all our planes, but especially for the F-35, he said.
The United States had agreed to sell 100 of its last fifth-generation F-35 fighters to Turkey, and has so far delivered two of these aircraft. But last year’s Congress ordered a delay in future deliveries.
Scaparrotti’s remarks echoed a warning issued by Vice President Mike Pence last month at an international conference on security in Munich. In his speech, Mr. Pence said that the United States had “made it clear that we would not stand idly by while NATO allies buy weapons from our opponents.” We can not defend the West if our allies become more and more dependent on the East.”
At the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Senators raised objections to the sale, noting that some parts of the aircraft are made in Turkey. Pentagon leaders warned that the end of Turkey’s production role would force other allies to assume that role and would likely delay delivery of the aircraft.
Senator Thom Tillis, CR, said his message to Turkish leaders was that Congress was aware of the risks of selling the S-400 and could act.
“Why on earth would they consider a decision that would require us to rethink whether or not they could actually be in the Joint Strike Fighter supply chain,” said Tillis, adding that this could also raise doubts about the future 35 deliveries.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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