United States has not changed its position on Turkey’s role in the F-35 program
if the latter accepts a Russian missile defense system, acting US Defense
Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday, adding that he would be speaking with his
Turkish counterpart later in the day.
Esper had personally told Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in Brussels on June 26 that Turkey could not have both the S-400 and the F-35 advanced stealth fighter jets.
“We are aware of Turkey taking delivery of the S-400. Our position regarding the F-35 has not changed and I will speak with my Turkish counterpart Minister Akar this afternoon,” Esper said at the Pentagon.
“There will be more to follow after that conversation,” Esper said.