Turkey vows to retaliate if US halts F-35 delivery

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Ankara, May 25 (IANS) Turkey will retaliate if the US suspends delivery of F-35 fighter jets, the country’s Foreign Ministry warned on Friday.

A US Senate committee bill aiming to prevent Turkey from purchasing Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets was “against the spirit of our alliance with the US”, Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said.

“This is not a programme managed merely by the US. It’s a multinational programme and we expect everybody to fulfil their obligations.”

If the US takes such steps, “we will have to respond”, the spokesman warned.

Aksoy also vowed protection of Turkey’s firms following a decision by the US Treasury Department to impose sanctions on several Iranian and Turkish companies in a move targeting Iranian airlines.

On Thursday, a US Senate committee passed a bill to block Turkey from purchasing Lockheed Martin F-35 jets over its detention of the US priest Andrew Brunson. The bill also demanded steps against Turkey’s agreement with Russia to buy S-400 surface-to-air missiles in December 2017.

Lockheed Martin was expected to deliver the first F-35 fighter jet to Turkey on June 21.

Turkey is scheduled to buy more than 100 F-35 fighter jets while negotiating with Washington over the purchase of Patriot missiles.

–IANS

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