(TM) – US officials announced on Monday that Washington had halted the training of Turkish pilots on F-35 fighter jets at an airbase in the US state of Arizona, Al-Jazeera reported.
The move at Luke Air Force Base has come sooner than expected, days after acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told his Turkish counterpart that their pilots already in the country could remain until the end of July.
Washington gave Ankara a July deadline to make its decision over buying a Russian S-400 missile system. The US says Turkey’s missile defense acquisition from Russia poses a threat to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighters, which Ankara also wants to buy.
The standoff threatens to bring US sanctions, which would hurt Turkey’s already recession-hit economy, and raise questions over its role in NATO.
“The department is aware that the Turkish pilots at Luke AFB are not flying,” Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, a Pentagon spokesman, told Reuters.
“Without a change in Turkish policy, we will continue to work closely with our Turkish ally on winding down their participation in the F-35 program.”
Turkey is a partner in the F-35 program that helped fund the development of the fighter jet. It plans to buy 100 aircraft and already owns four, which are currently on American soil and used for training purposes.
By Turkish Minute / Republished with permission
This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.
Since you’re here…
…We have a small favor to ask. Fewer and fewer people are seeing Anti-Media articles as social media sites crack down on us, and advertising revenues across the board are quickly declining. However, unlike many news organizations, we haven’t put up a paywall because we value open and accessible journalism over profit — but at this point, we’re barely even breaking even. Hopefully, you can see why we need to ask for your help. Anti-Media’s independent journalism and analysis takes substantial time, resources, and effort to produce, but we do it because we believe in our message and hope you do, too.
If everyone who reads our reporting and finds value in it helps fund it, our future can be much more secure. For as little as $1 and a minute of your time, you can support Anti-Media. Thank you. Click here to support us