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9 Mar, 2019 10:04

No Patriots, no F-35s: Pentagon to empty Turkish army’s shopping cart if it goes on with S-400 deal

No Patriots, no F-35s: Pentagon to empty Turkish army’s shopping cart if it goes on with S-400 deal

Neither the F-35 fifth-generation fighter jet nor the Patriot air defense system will be available to the Turkish military once they get the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missiles, a Pentagon spokesman threatened.

“I can tell you that if Turkey takes the S-400s there would be grave consequences in terms of our military relationship with them,” Charles Summers, acting chief spokesman for the Pentagon, was quoted by US media. “If they take the S-400s, they would not get the F-35s and Patriots,” he told an informal press briefing. 

The stern warning came after Ankara missed a so-called “soft deadline” set by Washington to decide whether to buy the Raytheon-built Patriot missile system. The formal offer expires at the end of this month, and it seems Turkey will not accept it.

Earlier this week, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said his country is buying the S-400s because “we have to protect our 82 million citizens.” The purchase is “not a choice but a necessity,” he argued.

Ankara is planning to purchase 100 F-35s from the US and its pilots are currently going through training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. Turkish companies also contribute to America’s costliest defense program supplying key components, including airframe structures and assemblies, and the center fuselages.

US defense officials have long insisted that using both F-35 and S-400 is impossible without compromising the stealth jet’s classified features. However, Turkish leadership believes the American pressure has more to do with politics than technical issues.

Washington has also been trying to compel India to ditch a similar S-400 deal with Russia. New Delhi has said the deal is not up for discussion.

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