No change in Turkey’s course on S-400 deal – officials

ANKARA, Turkish officials announced Sunday that there will be no change in Turkey’s course on Russian S-400 deal.

Turkish officials told Turkish newspaper “daily news Hurriyet” that there was no change regarding Turkey’s stance on an S-400 missile defense deal with Russia.

Their comments were in response to a question about the US acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan’s letter to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar that laid out the steps to remove Turkey from the F-35 training program.

The anonymous sources noted that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already said that the purchase from Moscow was a “done deal” and “there is no backtracking from that.” The same sources said that “some of the US institutions do not want to take into consideration” the issues that Erdogan and his US counterpart Donald Trump had previously mutually agreed on.

They also said that Turkey’s suggestion of establishing a joint commission with the United States to examine the S-400 issue was “still on the table.” In recent days, Shanahan said in his letter sent to the Turkish Defense Minister that all Turkish pilots in the F-35 fighter jet program must leave the United States by July 31 and training for new pilots will be suspended.

The timetable would allow pilots currently training on the F-35 to complete their training and for other pilots to be reassigned to other posts, Shanahan said.

The letter said there were 34 students scheduled for F-35 training later this year.

Source: Kuwait News Agency