Ankara plays down US ultimatum on S-400
ANKARA — Turkey has responded to the United States’ throwing it out of the F-35 program with almost nonchalance.
US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan had announced that Turkey would have to leave the program to build and buy the F-35 stealth fighter on July 31 unless Ankara canceled its purchase of Russian S-400 air defense missiles. The decision means Turkey will not only forfeit the four F-35s it has bought, but it will also lose billions of dollars in revenue for manufacturing components of the state-of-the-art aircraft. Turkish pilots and other personnel involved in the program will also have to leave the United States by the end of next month.
In a surprisingly calm response, Turkey’s Defense Ministry did not criticize Shanahan’s decision and pointed to his desire to resolve the issue amicably.
“A letter was sent by US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar,” the ministry stated Saturday. “Covering defense and security issues between the two countries, the letter expresses the expectation of finding a solution to the existing problems within the framework of strategic partnership and maintaining the comprehensive security cooperation and emphasizes the importance of continuing negotiations.”
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