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Erdogan's Adviser Doubts US Will Ditch F-35 Deal With Turkey Amid S-400 Row

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The US Congress has for some time been considering to halt F-35 shipments to Turkey since Ankara signed a contract for Russian S-400 air defence systems in December 2017. Despite pressure from Washington, Turkey has refused to abandon the deal with Russia.

Adviser to the Turkish president, Ibrahim Kalin, told journalists in Doha that Ankara doubts the US will halt F-35 supplies to Turkey even if the country moves ahead with the S-400 deal with Russia. He also expressed confidence that the issue will be handled by the time the jets are ready for shipment.

"We are not just buyer, we are part of the [F-35 development] project […] So, it is not that easy to deny Turkey the supply of these jets", he said.

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Since Ankara and Moscow struck a deal on Turkey's acquisition of S-400 air defence systems in December 2017, US lawmakers have been raising concerns regarding the possibility that Russia could use the S-400s to acquire secret data on the F-35. As a result of this concern, Congress passed a bill requiring the Pentagon to file a report on the purported threat to the F-35 before the planes can be delivered to Turkey.

READ MORE: US May Still Slap Turkey With Sanctions Over S-400 'Threat' to F-35 — Reports

Ankara has been a participant in the development of the F-35 along with several other NATO countries. Under the provisions of the contract, Turkey is slated to buy 100 jets after the development is completed. Ankara has warned Washington against freezing F-35 deliveries, reminding the US that it has fulfilled all the provisions of the original contract.

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