00:28 GMT21 September 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States will not provide fifth-generation F-35 jets to Turkey, as the move will change the balance of power, former deputy chief of the Turkish general staff, retired Gen. Ergin Saygun, said Monday.

    "The US will not give the F-35 to Turkey because it will change the [existing] balance", Saygun said. "It will diminish the possibilities... of Israel. They don't want that. So if we give up the S-400s, tomorrow it will be something else. If we give up that one, then they'll find something else again".

    The United States had conditioned Turkey’s participation in the F-35 jet program on Ankara giving up its acquisition of the Russian S-400 air defence systems.

    On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in comments regarding taking delivery of Russian S-400 air defence systems that Turkey aims to manufacture in the future advanced air defence systems jointly with Russia.

    "I hope they do it," Saygun said when asked about a possibility of joint manufacturing of air and missile defence systems.

    On Friday, Russia delivered the first batch of the S-400 system’s components to Turkey.

    Moscow and Ankara in December 2017 signed a loan agreement for the delivery of S-400 systems. Turkey's cooperation with Russia has been strongly criticized not only by the United States but also by NATO as they continue to cite concerns over the S-400 systems’ incompatibility with NATO's air defence systems.

    The United States claims that S-400 systems may compromise F-35 jet operations. Washington announced in June that it would not train Turkish pilots to operate the F-35 jet unless Turkey abandoned its agreement with Russia. Turkey has insisted that it will not give up its $2.5-billion contract with Russia concerning the S-400 systems.

    According to media reports, the United States has readied a package of sanctions against Turkey over the procurement of S-400 systems, which it may announce later in July.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    Russia, S-400, power, balance, F-35, Israel, United States, Turkey
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