Ankara, June 12 (IANS) Turkey on Wednesday slammed Washington for sending a letter which threatened to remove Ankara from the F-35 fighter jet programme, saying the language used was “not in the spirit of the alliance”.
Last week, US acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan wrote to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, saying that
the F-35 fighter jet training programme for Turkish pilots would halt over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system, and all Turkish trainees would have to leave his country by July 31.
Akar, cited by the Turkish Defence Ministry in a statement, said that Ankara was preparing a response to the letter and that it would be sent to the US in the coming days, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Akar said that he was set to discuss the issue with Shanahan by phone on Thursday and that both Ministers will meet in Brussels during a NATO defence ministerial meeting at the end of June.
“All topics are on the table and we are continuing to openly and clearly express our known views. We will continue to maintain the same attitude and stance,” said the Turkish Minister.
The US repeatedly warned it will cut off Ankara’s purchase of F-35 fighter jets if the Turkish government goes ahead with plans to buy the Russian air defence system, triggering a heated dispute between the two NATO allies.
Washington has already suspended deliveries of parts and services related to Turkey’s receipt of the multi-million dollar jets.