USA: ‘Not fair’ that Turkey embargoed from F-35 jets – Trump
Trump thinks &# 171; unfair&# 187; impossibility to sell F-35 fighters to Turkey
The State Department reported that the United States is considering options for sanctions in connection with Ankara’s purchase of Russian military equipment
US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he considers it “unfair” to Turkey and the United States that Washington cannot sell F-35 fighters to Ankara after it purchased Russian air defense systems..
Turkey began accepting Russian anti-aircraft missile systems last week, despite US warnings that the Pentagon would then exclude it from the F-35 stealth fighter program..
The purchase of Russian military equipment could also lead to the possibility of sanctions against Turkey, a NATO member, in accordance with the Law on Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions, passed in 2017..
“They found themselves in a very difficult situation, and we in the United States were in a very difficult situation … Let’s see what happens next, but this is not fair,” Trump told reporters at a cabinet meeting in the White House.
“Because they bought a Russian missile, we cannot sell them planes worth billions of dollars. This is an unfair situation, “Trump said, complaining about the expected job loss..
“I would say [F-35 maker] Lockheed [Martin] is not very happy about this,” he added..
Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, who was nominated by Trump as Secretary of Defense, at his Senate confirmation hearings reaffirmed the Pentagon’s longstanding position that Turkey cannot have the C-400 and F-35 at the same time..
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump are exploring “all the options in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus..
“I think we were pretty clear about what the consequences might be, and I think you saw these consequences today when the president spoke about the impossibility of Turkey getting F-35 fighters,” she said. “As for which sanctions options will be chosen, we do not consider such sanctions in advance.”.
If the US excludes Turkey from the F-35 program and imposes sanctions, it will be one of the most serious rifts in the modern history of relations between the two countries..
Many US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed concern about Turkey’s withdrawal from NATO and said they were watching with dismay as relations between Ankara and Moscow improved..
“This is undoubtedly annoying, I will say, very annoying,” Esper said. “When you see them drift away over the past few years, it’s discouraging.”.