FILE PHOTO – A large-sized mock of F-35 fighter jet is shown at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan on November 28, 201
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Four US Senators on Thursday introduced a two-party bill to ban the transfer of F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey until the US government confirms that Ankara will not receive a Russian S-400 air defense system, says a statement on the go.
Turkey is a production partner in the F-35 fighter jet program with trillion dollars, but Ankara will also buy a Russian missile defense system, which the United States says will endanger the safety of F-35 aircraft Lockheed Martin Corp.
Senators – Democrats Jeanne Shaheen and Chris Van Hollen and Republicans James Lankford and Thom Tillis – have all alarmed Turkey's planned purchase of Russian S-400 missiles and said that NATO Allies cannot have both.
"The prospect of Russia having access to US aircraft and technology in a NATO country, Turkey, is a serious national and global security risk," Shaheen said.
Last week, Reuters reported that the US could soon freeze the preparations to deliver F-35's to Turkey. Although no decision was made, such a move would be a major blow to already strained ties between Washington and Ankara.
"Turkey is an important NATO ally and willing partner in addressing a number of US national security priorities," Lankford said. "It is about Turkey seeking close, close cooperation with Russia whose authoritarian ruler seeks to undermine NATO and the United States' interests at every turn."
So far, Ankara has not shown willingness to reverse the S-400 purchase and forces the United States to investigate a future for the F-35 program without Turkey, making parts of the hull, landing gear and cockpit screen.
Reporting Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by James Dalgleish