US lawmakers urge Turkey to drop Russian missile system for F-35 fighter jets

Members of US Congress says American fighter jets will be delivered if Turkey cancels its agreement to buy Russian system
Tuesday, 28 August 2018 18:10

A three-member U.S. delegation headed by Republican Congressman Michael Turner, a member of NATO Parliamentarian Assembly, visited Turkey on Aug. 27. The delegation met with Turkish parliamentarians and discussed the issues of Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 systems and delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.

The congressmen urged Ankara to abandon procurement of S-400 systems to guarantee the delivery of the F-35s, while the Turkish side stressed further cooperation against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), a mastermind of 2016 coup attempt, Turkish media reported.

In June, the US Senate approved a bill that would block or delay the sale of the fighter jets to Turkey. U.S. President Trump then earlier this month delayed the delivery of jets to Turkey for at least 90 days.

After the discussion, the delegation visited Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), a local partner for the F-35 fighter jet production. They also visited NATO Land Command in Izmir and the Incirlik air base in Adana.

Turkey has to protect its airspace and the United States has failed to guarantee the sale of Patriot missile defense systems, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said after the visit. 

“[The fact that] Congress members are coming to Turkey is important. Because there are different institutions in the U.S., different positions, different beliefs [...] Of course, there are also members of the Congress who know the importance of Turkey and those who strive for the strengthening of Turkey-U.S. relations,” Çavuşoğlu added.