US has finally reacted on the Turkish deal of S-400 with Russia as anticipated. With the latest letter to the Turkish government sent by Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, the US has clearly stated that all the ongoing training of Turkish pilots for F-35 will end by 31 July, and the person must also leave the country by the end of the month.
The letter added that “This training will not occur because we are suspending Turkey from the F-35 program, there are no longer requirements to gain proficiencies on the systems”. There are currently 34 under training Turkish personnel in the US for the said training and letter emphasizes that there would be no new training program with Turkey.
The US has been warning Turkey since a while now, to quit the deal with Russia and switch to Patriot Missiles. The missile defense system is said to be incompatible with the weapon system of NATO, which creates questions on the relationship of Turkey with the NATO. The US also warned to implicate sanctions to damage the economy of the country, if they proceed to deal with Russia. But the Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan has been very positive with the purchase of S-400 and claimed that there is no turning back on the deal. However, Shanahan has also given a chance to quit the Russian deal by writing that, “You still have the option to change course on the S-400,”
On the other hand, Russia is right on schedule and is all set to deliver the defense system to Turkey in about two months. The experts believe that if Turkey were expelled from the F-35 program, it would be a standout amongst the huge bursts in ongoing history in the connection between the two partners.
Apart from the cancellation of the training program, the US is also planning to shift the manufacturing of F-35 parts from Turkey. The country currently manufactures over 937 parts for the landing gear and center fuselage of the jet. Turkey was initially one of the core partners of the F-35 program and agreed to purchase 100 jets from the US, out of which two have already been delivered.