Donald Trump says U.S. won't sell F-35 fighter jets to Turkey

President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in Washington. [AP Photo]

said Tuesday the U.S. will not sell advanced over Ankara's acquisition of the Russian S-400 anti-air system. "It's a very tough situation that they're in. And it's a very tough situation that we've been placed in the United States," Trump told reporters during a at the .

Donald Trump says the U.S. is not going to sell F-35 fighter jets to after Ankara decided to buy a missile defense system from Russia.

The Trump administration has repeatedly told Turkey that it will be cut off from buying F-35s if it buys the S-400 Russian air defense system because it's incompatible with NATO defenses and could jeopardize sensitive information about F-35 technologies. Turkey is a member of NATO.

Trump blamed the Obama administration for never reaching a deal to sell an American to Turkey.

The president pointed to that Turkey was forced to buy the S-400 system by his predecessor Barack Obama, leading the Pentagon to halt plans to sell F-35 fighter jets to the country.

He says Turkey had ordered more than 100 F-35s but because it bought a Russian missile system, the U.S. can't sell it billions of dollars' worth of aircraft.

Trump said that US relations with Turkey are good despite Ankara's decision to buy a Russian missile defense system, making no mention of sanctions Washington has threatened over the purchase.

"I've had a good relationship with President (Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan," Trump told journalists.

"It's a very tough situation that they're in and it's a very tough situation that we've been placed in.... With all of that being said, we're working through it -- we'll see what happens."

Trump spoke Tuesday during a Cabinet meeting at the White House.

The has threatened to expel Turkey from the F-35 fighter program if it acquired the S-400 from Russia, warning the anti-air system could be used by Moscow to covertly attain secret information on the stealth fighter.

The delivery of S-400 components began last week and is ongoing. Turkey's Defense Ministry said a twelfth Russian plane with the anti-air parts landed at Murted airfield outside Ankara on Tuesday.

Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the U.S. with no success, Ankara signed a contract in 2017 to purchase the S-400s from Russia.

The U.S. halted in June training for Turkish pilots as a step in winding down Turkey's participation in the F-35 program.

Washington has also threatened sanctions over Turkey's purchase, with Ankara responding that any sanctions would be met in kind.

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