Washington gives Turkey ultimatum: Russian weapons or North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership

On Monday, the USA halted the delivery of equipment related to the F-35 stealth fighter aircraft to Turkey, marking the first concrete step by Washington to block delivery of the jet to its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally as Turkish officials have refused to back down from the planned purchase of S-400 systems from Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, Turkey plans to purchase 100 F-35 fighter jets from the United States, and its pilots are training on the weapons platform at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona of the US.

The dispute could scupper Nato's attempt to present a united front to Russian Federation over its aggressive actions in the Black Sea as plans are made for the 29 member nations to agree measures today including increased marine patrols. In a letter to leading appropriators, House members called for fresh language last week restricting U.S. funding to support the jets if Turkey buys the S-400.

But Scaparrotti too was optimistic that Turkey would not go through with purchasing the S-400.

"We concluded the S-400 issue, signed a deal with the Russians and will start co-production", President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last month. Asked if Turkey would abide by the committee if it decided the Americans were correct and that the missile defense system could compromise the F-35, the foreign minister said "of course, it is our proposal".

(South Korea Defense Acquisition Program Administration via Getty Images) A U.S. F-35A fighter jet lands at Chungju Air Base, March 29, 2019, in Chungju, South Korea.

The Trump administration has made great strides in recent months to transform the cash-strapped and perpetually ailing North Atlantic Treaty Organization into a viable global military force that has the capabilities to confront Russian Federation and other rogue regimes allied with terror forces.

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On Monday, the Pentagon said it had suspended the delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter jet "pending an unequivocal Turkish decision to forgo delivery of the S-400".

The disagreement over the F-35 is the latest of a series of diplomatic disputes between the United States and Turkey including Turkish demands that the United States extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, differences over Middle East policy and the war in Syria, and sanctions on Iran.

USA officials have told Turkey it can not have both.

As a result, US government leaders have repeatedly threatened to shut down Turkey's participation in the F-35 program if the Russian purchase goes through. "And it is moving ahead with these plans even after the United States offered to sell Turkey the Patriot air defense system". But he also said a joint U.S.

"It is time to stop bringing back the 'Eastern threat.' In the interest of peace, the world needs a de-escalation of military and political tensions", the foreign ministry said.

Turkey expressed irritation with the State Department Wednesday over its description of a meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu earlier this week.

The state has also carried two-cross border operations in the region.

  • Sonia Alvarado