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Trump blocks delivery of F-35 to Turkey, new deadline for Brunson release

US President Donald Trump is determined to impose one sanction after the other on Turkey until US pastor Andrew Brunson is released. On Monday , Trump signed the Defense Bill containing among others a clause that blocks the delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey. The move comes amid the worst diplomatic row between the two NATO allies and despite the fact that Trump had expressed intention to not block the deal as US Senators wanted.

The bill prohibits the sale of F-35 to Turkey until a Pentagon reports on Turkish-US relations expected in 90 days.

The report is expected to include an assessment of Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program as well as the risks that would be posed by the country’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

Turkey’s removal from the F-35 program was taken out of the bill by the Congressional Conference Committee.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in a letter to the Senate on July 7, opposed Turkey’s removal from the program, saying it could cause a disruption in a supply chain for the U.S. military and its partners while increasing other program costs.

The project has cost Turkey 1.25 billion US Dollars, several Turkish companies have been involved in the fighter jets manufacture. The participating firms were expected to make a profit of $12 billion.

Turkey plans to purchase 100 F-35 fighter jets in the coming years. Out of 100 aircraft, 30 have been approved. The country took delivery of its first F-35 fighter jet at a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 21. The first F-35 aircraft delivered is also the first fifth-generation fighter jet to enter the Turkish Air Force Command inventory.

The clause on F-35 was introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Thom Tillis following the  initiative by the Greek and Armenian communities in the US as well as in light of Turkey purchasing S-400  missiles from Russia.

Trump’s blocking the delivery of F-35 is “a move that goes against trade agreements and disregards international trade law,” Turkey media comment.

Trump’s National Security Adviser Bolton met Turkey’s ambassador to the United States to discuss Turkey’s detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson.

According to media, Bolton has given a clear message to ANkara that there will be no further discussions, until Brunson is released.

Washington had reportedly given another deadline for the pastor’s release, the deadline expires on August 15.

Meanwhile, rumors are circulating on Tuesday morning that Turkey is planning to release the pastor Brunson on Wednesday. However, no Turkish mainstream media has confirmed these claims yet.

Nevertheless, these rumors were enough to ease pressure on Turkish Lira and USD/TRY dropped sharply from 7.02 to 6.66.

Until rumors are confirmed, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey will boycott US electronic products.

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  1. The irresistible force meets the immovable object. This could get interesting. And scary.

  2. Canada asks the same thing from Saudi Arabia and WE get sanctions and are told we are human rights abusers. They don’t want our stuff, cancel contracts, recall students, play diplomacy games… but we will still sell you oil- no problem.

    Scary and interesting indeed. You have no idea how difficult it is to live next to the U.S.

  3. How is Greece supposed to compete with a 5th generation fighter in the hands of a madman like Erdogan and his imperialist goons? Where is NATO in all of this?