US-Turkey F-35 delivery on rocks amid missile row

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 21, 2019 - Duration: 01:24s

US-Turkey F-35 delivery on rocks amid missile row

The United States could soon freeze preparations for delivering F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, officials told Reuters, in what would be the strongest signal yet by Washington that Ankara cannot have both the advanced aircraft and Russia's S-400 air defense system.

Nathan Frandino has more.

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US-Turkey F-35 delivery on rocks amid missile row

TEASER Turkey and the U.S. butt heads over a crucial delivery of fighter jets SCRIPT: U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets may not be flying for Turkey any time soon.

This after U.S. officials exclusively told Reuters that Washington was considering freezing preparations to deliver the jets to its NATO ally, amid concerns about Ankara's plan to buy the S-400 air defense system from Russia.

A senior defense official told Reuters, quote, "The S-400 is a computer.

The F-35 is a computer.

You don't hook your computer to your adversary's computer and that's basically what we would be doing." Analysts say removing Turkey from the F-35 program could widen a rift between the two countries.

Ties are already strained due to differences on strategy in Syria, Iran sanctions, and the detention of U.S. consular staff.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said last week it was impossible to back out of its deal with Russia.

Washington had tried to pursuade Turkey to buy the American-made Raytheon Patriot defense system instead.

Erdogan said he was open to buying both the S-400 and the Patriot missile systems if the conditions were suitable.

U.S. officials say a final decision has not been made, but remain concerned about closer ties between Ankara and Moscow.

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said Thursday, quote, "We're hopeful that we can find a way through this, but it is a tough issue."

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