Turkey says Shanahan letter on F-35s not in line with spirit of alliance
Speaking to reporters in Azerbaijan's Gebele on Wednesday, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said of the Shanahan letter that the language used in a letter sent from Washington to Ankara regarding Turkey's removal from the F-35 fighter jet program did not suit the spirit of alliance. Akar also added: "Turkey is preparing a response to the letter and that it would be sent to the U.S. in the coming days."
The language used in a letter sent from Washington to Ankara regarding Turkey's removal from the F-35 fighter jet program does not suit the spirit of alliance, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday.
Akar reiterated that Turkey has always remained committed to its responsibility toward NATO and the U.S.
"To date, we have fulfilled all of our responsibilities without any delay or interruption toward the U.S. and NATO," he said.
U.S. acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan's letter to his counterpart, seen by Reuters, had outlined how Turkey would be pulled out of the F-35 fighter jet program unless Ankara changes course from its plans to purchase a Russian missile defence system.
Akar, cited by the defense ministry in a statement, also said Turkey is preparing a response to the letter and that it would be sent to the U.S. in the coming days. He added that he would hold a phone call with Shanahan on Thursday.
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have lingered on over the purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems by Ankara.
Turkey decided in 2017 to purchase the S-400 system following protracted efforts to purchase air defense systems from the U.S. with no success.
Washington maintains the move will jeopardize Turkey's role in the U.S. F-35 fighter jet program and could trigger congressional sanctions.