Is Turkey at a Crossroads Between US F-35 and Russian S-400?

© Sputnik / Alexey Malgavko / Go to the photo bankThe S-400 Triumf anti-air missile system enters service in Sevastopol to protect Russian air borders
The S-400 Triumf anti-air missile system enters service in Sevastopol to protect Russian air borders - Sputnik International
The US’ House of Representatives has adopted a bill saying that the secretary of defense is not allowed to confirm the shipment of American armaments, including the F-35, to Turkey unless a report on Ankara buying Russian S-400 air defense systems is provided. Sputnik has discussed the situation with several Turkish military and diplomatic experts.

Faruk Logoglu, former deputy foreign minister and former Turkish ambassador to the US, recalled that Turkey is one of the sponsors of the F-35 program led by the US, a fact that frustrates the US congressmen. He noted that the US is definitely aware of the agreement signed on Moscow supplying Ankara with S-400s and that Turkey and Russia won't break the agreement. Faruk Logoglu expressed his doubts that the US will ban Turkey from using the F-35.

"Of course [the US] can try to do such a thing — we can see, judging by the situation with the Iran deal, that the US can withdraw from any deal. We must be prepared for anything. But I guess that any NATO members that participated in the F-35 development program will stand against such a US initiative," he said.

READ MORE: Putin Slams US Over Pushing Turkey into Abandoning S-400 Deal With Russia

Former member of the Turkish military's special operations department, security and counter-terrorism expert Abdullah Agar said that the US demands that Turkey act in accordance with the objectives and values of NATO. He added that at the same time, Turkey expects the same attitude in return from its European allies and the US on key issues.

"Ankara faces quite the contrary situation here and is asking legitimate questions as to why it was deprived of middle-to-long range air defense systems by its allies; as to why its allies are cooperating with the Kurdish YPG, which threatens the security and integrity of Turkey, and also defend Gulenists, who organized the coup attempt in the country," Agar added.

READ MORE: US Lawmaker Moves to Block Sale of 100 F-35 Fighter Jets to Turkey

Erdogan Karakush, a retired lieutenant general of the Turkish Air Force, stressed that Ankara's struggle to create its own national air defense system, which is not dependent on those that Turkey sees as unreliable allies, is quite natural. He believes it will allow Turkey to secure itself from possible unpredicted moves by the current US administration.

"It's well known that a meeting was planned between Trump and Kim Jong-un. However, Trump switched to aggressive rhetoric and threatened Kim [Jong-un] with sharing Gaddafi's fate. Unfortunately, the current US leader prefers to utilize brute force in his foreign policy. […] one can expect literally anything from the US right now," Karakush summed up.

The views and opinions expressed are those of speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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