A U.S. Senate committee swiftly passed the latest version of a $716 billion defense bill last week, including a hard-hitting measure to block Turkey from acquiring Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jets.
Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator Thom Tillis are responsible for the new amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would eliminate Turkey from the F-35 program over its recent purchase of Russian S-400 anti-missile system.
In response, Turkey pivoted towards Russia, and is expected to acquire Sukhoi SU-57 fifth-generation fighter jets, if Washington chooses to suspend Ankara from the F-35 program.
“Turkey’s manufacturing partner in the US Senate that the F-35 to even want to put embargoes can change the defensive equation. Ankara will not give up its right on the plane it expects to deliver in June. But the option for Russian-made SU has begun to be discussed,” according to the Yeni Safak Turkish newspaper.
If not sure in Plan A, you better prepare for a Plan B. At least, Turkey reportedly considers turning to Russian-made fifth-generation Su-57 fighter jets in case its F-35 deal with the US fails. (Source: Sputnik)
Nevertheless, according to the Turkish newspaper, Ankara is not abandoning its claim to the expensive American fifth-generation fighter jet, with the first of 21 F-35 planes expected to arrive in June. Turkey has merely initiated new discussions as an alternative to the expensive F-35 program if Washington terminates the contract. That alternative, well, is the low-cost Russian-made Su-57 jets, which are nearly halved in price compared to the F-35s.
As of Monday, Ankara has made no official statements on that matter.
While the news reports have yet to be acknowledged by Turkish officials, a source in the Turkish defense industry told Sputnikthat current media reports are based on experts’ opinion and do not reflect the official position of Ankara.
Professor Dr. Beril Dedeoğlu told the Yeni Safak Turkish newspaper:
“If the decision is confirmed by Trump, this may mean that other agreements are also broken. So if you do not sell them to us, we go to other security systems. We have other agreements with Russia, we get it from China. This is not for the benefit of America, it is not meaningful for its interests. Turkey will remind them of this situation.”
Military Aviation researcher Hakan Kilic said:
“Military Aviation researcher Hakan Kilic: “Trump if he signed the decision of the US Senate, will turn Turkey into Europe. Turkey does not receive the F 35 type aircraft, as an alternative to Europe with the UK Eurofighter 2000 have. There is no special feature on radar, but it is a much better plane than the F-16, even an F-35. Because their maneuverability is very strong. ”
Military strategist Abdullah Agar said:
“F-35 type aircraft deal is a deal with mutual obligations. One side has no way to cancel the agreement by itself. But the US has previously shown a similar picture in Iran’s nuclear deal. Now he can do something similar. If it does, it will have many consequences in a strategic sense. Trump (F-35 on the embargo) If the Senate approves the decision of Turkey-US relations will be further stretched. Turkey needed to achieve naturally warfare tools and instruments will enter those other engagements. “
As it turns out, Washington’s politicians could unknowingly be Moscow’s greatest defense salesperson, as Turkey, a member of NATO, is now pivoting towards Russian military hardware, including S-400 missile systems, and now, the possible sale of Russian fifth-generation fighter jets… Well, that was not supposed to happen.