The United States has given Turkey a deadline of July 31 to reverse its purchase of a Russian missile-defense system or face the loss of subcontracting work on the US-led F-35 fighter jet project, RFE/RL reports.
Ellen Lord, US undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, also told reporters on June 8 that Turkish pilots training in the United States on F-35 warplanes being sold to Ankara will be expelled if the missile deal is not called off.
She said the deadline “will allow sufficient time for Turkish personnel associated with the F-35 program to be reassigned and depart the United States…to facilitate an orderly cessation of Turkish participation.”
Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart that explained the measures to remove Turkey from the program unless Ankara changes course.
Washington and its allies consider Russia’s S-400 missile system to be incompatible with NATO systems and a threat to F-35 fighter jets.
The United States has urged Ankara to back off its purchase of the system and has turned up the heat as its delivery date has neared.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said his country was “determined” to proceed with the Russia purchase, which he has long labeled a “done deal.”