PNT notifies Ankara of Turkey's removal from F-35 program

TEHRAN, Apr. 22 (MNA) – The United States has officially notified Turkey that it has been removed from the F-35 fighter jet programme, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday, citing a Pentagon official.

Washington removed Turkey from the program in 2019 after Turkey purchased the Russian S-400 air missile systems, which it maintains poses a security threat to US and NATO systems.

But Turkish contractors continue to manufacture parts for the fifth-generation jet, despite the country’s removal from the program and the implementation of US sanctions on the Turkish Defence Industries Presidency (SSB) in December.

According to Ahval news agency citing Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency, Washington has signed a new agreement for the program with other eight signatories, the Pentagon official said, after the annulment of the 2006 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Jessica R. Maxwell, Pentagon Spokesperson, in an email to Ahval, did not confirm the news, but said, "Our position has not changed. The S-400 is incompatible with F-35 and Turkey has been suspended from the program. We continue to move forward with the process of formally removing Turkey from F-35 partnership, as announced in July 2019."

The United States, United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Norway and Denmark have signed a new MOU in a development that has been shared with Ankara, the official said. 

Turkey had been planning to buy 100 F-35s, but the United States has refused to deliver the four completed jets after the country’s expulsion from the program.

Ankara had been working to get back into the program by hiring lobbyists in Washington earlier this year.

Turkey’s state-owned Defence Industry Technologies (SSTEK) hired Washington-based law firm Arnold & Porter for lobbying efforts to get back into the F-35 stealth jet fighter program, lobbying news website Foreign Lobby Report said in February.

KI/PR

News Code 172435

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