A Pentagon official says the United States has officially informed Ankara about Turkey’s withdrawal from the F-35 fighter jet program, according to the Turkish state news agency Anadolu.
According to the official, the United States has revoked the memorandum of understanding signed by nine countries, including Turkey, in 2006. The remaining eight participating countries have signed a new memorandum of understanding and Turkey has been informed of the current situation.
The new signatories include the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway.
The Ankara government has ordered more than 100 F-35 fighter jets, and Turkey is building spare parts. However, it was excluded from the program in 2019. The move follows Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 Russian defence system from Moscow. Washington says the defence system is a threat to F-35 fighter jets.
In December last year, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey over its Russian defence system. The sanctions targeted Turkey’s defence industry and senior officials in the sector.
The Ankara government hired the American legal firm, Arnold & Porter, to press for re-acceptance of the fighter jet program.