Wednesday, 18 April 2018

US lawmaker seeks to block sale of F-35 jets to Turkey

US lawmaker seeks to block sale of F-35 jets to Turkey, report says

A US lawmaker has sought to halt the sale of a fleet of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey until the country’s authorities cooperate with the investigation and prosecution of Turkish security personnel involved in a violent clash with protesters in Washington DC last year, it was reported Tuesday.

According to a report in the Washington Times, David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, last week proposed an amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that would block the sale of about 100 aircraft to Turkey.

The amendment reportedly states that the trasnfer should not be completed until Ankara has been certified to be fully cooperating over the case.

The May 2017 melee, which took place during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was condemned by American officials and strained relations between the two countries. Ankara has blamed the incident on demonstrators linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), while Washington’s police chief referred to it as a “brutal attack” on peaceful demonstrators.

Numerous officials have voiced concerns over the sale of F-35 fighters to Turkey, and are calling on the US administration and Congress to cancel, suspend or modify the order if Ankara moves ahead with its planned purchase of the S-400 anti-aircraft weapon system from Russia.

The objections stem from concerns that Turkey will operate both the S-400 and the F-35s together, which could allow Moscow to obtain data about the fighter jet, through the air defense system, and thus expose its vulnerabilities.

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