Ankara [Turkey]: Turkey on Thursday slammed the United States’ decision to remove it from the F-35 program, highlighting that the move would “irreparably” damage relations.
“Turkey calls on the US to correct mistake to remove country from F-35 program which will irreparably damage relations,” Anadolu Agency quoted the Turkish Foreign Ministry as saying.
Both the USA and Turkey are NATO allies. Turkey currently makes numerous components of the fighter jet for the US, which are sold internationally.
“US unilateral move to remove Turkey from F-35 program neither complies with alliance spirit nor based on legitimate grounds,” the ministry added.
The United States booted Turkey out of its F-35 programme on Wednesday, days after Ankara received the first parts of the S-400 air defence system from Russia — a move which was strongly rejected by the US.
“The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence-collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” a statement released by the White House read.
However, the United States added it still values the strategic relationship shared between the two countries.
“As NATO Allies, our relationship is multi-layered, and not solely focused on the F-35. Our military-to-military relationship is strong, and we will continue to cooperate with Turkey extensively, mindful of constraints due to the presence of the S-400 system in Turkey,” the statement continued.