Business Maverick: US to Withhold F-35 Fighters From Turkey

Business Maverick: US to Withhold F-35 Fighters From Turkey By Bloomberg

17.7.2019

Business Maverick: US to Withhold F-35 Fighters From Turkey By Bloomberg

Donald Trump said the US would withhold sales after Ankara received a new air-defence system from Russia, putting new strains on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Lockheed Martin, which derives around 30% of its sales from the F-35, has played down the impact of Turkey’s potential ejection from the program in recent weeks, saying other countries are awaiting planes that would have been sold to Turkey.

“Turkey is very good with us, very good,” Mr Trump said, citing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to release a detained American pastor last year. “And we are now telling Turkey because you have really been forced to buy another missile system, we’re not going to sell you the F-35 fighter jets.”

The U.S. decision to withdraw the F-35s order is a setback for Mr Erdogan, who had bet heavily on a direct relationship with Mr Trump to resolve the issue and persuade the U.S. president to disregard his own administration’s repeated calls for punishing Turkey.

Mr Erdogan had said Turkey, which has invested $1.5 billion in the F-35 development, would seek international arbitration if it were booted from the program. The Turkish leader had also warned Ankara would retaliate.

He also believes Turkey has shown its goodwill to negotiate after its decision to release Pastor Andrew Brunson—a move that prompted the Trump administration to partly lift economic sanctions.

Turkish officials said they turned to Russia for air-defence equipment after the U.S. declined to sell Turkey the Patriot antimissile system. The Trump administration subsequently offered to sell the system last year, but Mr Erdogan in June said the proposal had fallen short of the deal Russia offered.

In a phone conversation last December, the two discussed Syria and Mr Trump initially agreed to a Patriot missile deal on the condition that Turkey abandons its S-400 deal with Russia, a senior Turkish official said.

Read more: Daily Maverick
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17 July 2019, Wednesday News

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