Ankara says its removal from Washington’s fighter jet program was “unlawful”
Fahrettin Altun, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman, has shot down the idea that Ankara should transfer its Russian-made S-400 air defense missile systems to Ukraine in exchange for Turkey receiving F-35 warplanes and Patriot missile batteries from the US. Kiev appealed for assistance from the international community to combat Russia’s military offensive.
“It is the responsibility of the West and especially the US to normalize relations with Turkey,”Altun sent a Wednesday letter to Wall Street Journal (WSJ). He also stated that “what the West must do is deliver the F-35 fighter jets and Patriot batteries to Turkey without preconditions.”
The spokesman wrote that Washington’s removal of Turkey from the F-35 program in 2019 was “unlawful.”After Ankara refused its request to cancel the S-400 purchase, the US declined to deliver the planes promised.
Altun responded to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last week asking Ankara for its S-400s and to hand them over to Kiev to allow them to take down Russian planes. Paul Kolbe, a scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and former CIA operative, wrote that Turkey could get the now-dead F-35 shipment from the US “back on track,”Patriot batteries are also available. “nice new American replacement”For the S-400s. Kolbe argued that it would be “symbolic” for Russian-made missiles to destroy Russian planes.
Reuters reported on Monday that US officials informally pitched the idea of the transfer of the Russian-made missile systems to Ukraine during Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s trip to Turkey this month. Washington and Ankara have yet to comment on this matter.
Turkey attempted to purchase the Patriot system from the US before the S-400s were acquired, but that deal was canceled. Altun pointed out that in 2015 Washington pulled the missiles away from the Turkish-Syrian border. Ankara’s relations with Moscow plummeted that year after a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian warplane during its mission in Syria.
Turks remember well how NATO withdrew Patriot Batteries from Turkey at the worst time in Turkish-Russian relations. A result of this experience, the Turkish people have stopped taking seriously any West pledge not to supply Patriot troops.
Altun pointed to Ukraine’s use of Turkish Bayraktar combat drones as part of a successful arms deal with the country. Ukraine has asked NATO for a no fly zone to be established over Ukraine and to provide it with warplanes to fight Russian aircrafts. However, these requests were denied.
Moscow attacked Ukraine exactly one month ago, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. Minsk Protocol (German- and French-brokered) was created to normalize the status within Ukraine’s state.
Russia demanded Ukraine now declare itself neutral, and that it will not join NATO. Kiev denies that Russia launched the Russian military offensive and claims it planned to seize the two republics.
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