US Refusal to Supply F-35s to Turkey Will Do Ankara Great Favor – General

© REUTERS / Gary Cameron/File Photo / A Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet is seen in its hanger at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, U.S., October 28, 2015
A Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet is seen in its hanger at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, U.S., October 28, 2015 - Sputnik International
Addressing the possible repercussions of Washington's refusal to supply its F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, Beyazit Karatas, vice-chairman of the left-wing Turkish party Vatan, told Sputnik that Ankara should deal with the issue from the standpoint of its strategic interests.

Retired Turkish Air Force Major General Beyazit Karatas said that by "refusing to deliver the F-35 warplanes to Turkey, the US will do Ankara a really great favor.

"A decision to purchase American fighters will make the Turkish Air Force 100-percent dependent on the US and will impede the development of production of our domestic aircraft," Karatas pointed out.

READ MORE: US Threatens Turkey With 'Ripple Effect' for F-35 Deal Amid Row Over S-400

He stressed that such a deal "will boost the strength of the US global arms market and will prevent Turkey from independently running its own air force."

"Perhaps, from an economic point of view this method is good, but we should remember that Turkish-American relations are currently not at the level that was in place before. Therefore, discussions about whether the F-35 is better than [Russia's] Su-57 make no sense. Turkey needs to look at this issue from a strategic rather than a technical point of view," Karatas concluded.

On Thursday, Turkey reportedly received the first two F-35 jets from the US at a delivery ceremony at Fort Worth, Texas.

READ MORE: 'Just the Start': US-Turkey F-35 Row May Be Followed by Sanctions — Prof

The delivery was preceded by the US Senate voting 85 to 10 to include a provision targeting Turkey's participation in the F-35 program in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Washington has repeatedly expressed concern about Ankara's drive to buy Russian S-400 missile systems, warning that it is not interoperable with NATO and US military equipment.

READ MORE: Turkey May Buy Russian Su-57 Jets, If Delivery of F-35 Jets Suspended — Reports

The S-400 Triumf anti-air missile system - Sputnik International
Turkey Rejects US Demand to Cancel Russian S-400 Deal - Reports
Some US military officials fear that if Turkey uses the state-of-the-art F-35 jets alongside the S-400 systems, Russia could allegedly be able to pick up sensitive technical data on these warplanes' capabilities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his part, said that Ankara is considering alternatives to the F-35 fighters and that "the United States' ill-advised policy towards its strategic ally NATO could backfire against America itself."

Relations between Ankara and Washington soured after Turkey inked a loan deal with Russia in December 2017 for the supply of two batteries of S-400 air defense missile systems.

The views and opinions expressed by Beyazit Karatas are those of the analyst and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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