The growing political tensions between the US and its NATO ally Turkey have affected the diplomatic relations between both the countries. On Wednesday, the White House finally called off a deal with Turkey, wherein the former was to sell F-35 fighter jets to the latter.
Built by Lockheed Martin and many subcontractors, F-35 fighter jets, is a fifth-generation, multirole combat aircraft, designed for ground-attack and its air-superiority missions. It is one of America’s most expensive weapons. Turkish officials, who wished to acquire these jets to strengthen their military and defense technology, also made a deal for the purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.
The analysts have argued that the S-400 systems, being one of Russia’s advanced antiaircraft weapons, which has the ability of targeting and attacking aircraft at an average range of roughly 155 miles while flying to an altitude of 82,000 feet, would possess a real threat to the NATO alliance as well as Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter.
The US officials thereby wanted Turkey to buy American equivalent of the S-400 called Patriot missile systems, although they largely failed in their attempts. Despite continuous warnings, Turkey accepted its first shipment of Russian S-400 systems a week ago, while making a purchase of $2.5 billion. Considering the existing circumstances that were a grave threat to the US fighter jets, President Trump this week announced the cancellation of 100 F-35 fighter jets deal with Turkey.
“The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” the White House said in a statement. “Accepting the S-400 undermines the commitments all NATO allies made to each other to move away from Russian systems.”
“This will have detrimental impacts on Turkish interoperability with the alliance,” the statement said.
In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry called the cancelling of the deal an incompatible attempt by the US government, “We invite the United States to return from this mistake that will cause irreparable wounds in our strategic relations.”
Trump has always had healthy relations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the past, the former also praised Erdogan for his efforts to fight against terrorism. However, the analysts believe that the cancellation of F-35 fighter jets deal might open room to grievances and criticisms between both the leaders. As Turkey celebrates the purchase of S-400 systems, certain Turkish leaders fear that the deal cancellation with the US might invite potential American sanctions against the country.