Turkey-US continue coordination for delivery of F-35s, Turkish military sources claim


Coordination between Ankara and Washington over delivery of F-35 fighter jets continues as well as training of Turkish pilots in the United States, Turkish military sources said on Thursday.

Turkey has not halted preparations at the Malatya airbase where the F-35 jets will be stationed, the sources said, adding that Turkey has fulfilled all of its obligations under program.

On Monday, the US halted delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey, marking the first concrete step from Washington to block delivery of the jet to the NATO ally in light of Ankara’s planned purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

US officials told their Turkish counterparts they will not receive further shipments of F-35 related equipment needed to prepare for the arrival of the stealthy jet, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Monday.

The Pentagon confirmed the Reuters report that the equipment delivery had been stopped.

“Pending an unequivocal Turkish decision to forgo delivery of the S-400, deliveries and activities associated with the stand-up of Turkey’s F-35 operational capability have been suspended,” Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, a Defense Department spokesman, had said in a statement. [Reuters]