05:30 GMT05 July 2020
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    Earlier, a high-ranking source in Washington told Turkish media that Washington is still considering slapping Ankara with sanctions over its purchase of Russia's S-400 air defence system amid fears that the S-400s could pose an unspecified "threat" to the F-35.

    The Department of Defence has handed US lawmakers a classified document containing an assessment of Turkey's participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program, Turkey's Anadolu Agency has reported, citing Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews.

    The Pentagon "provided the [National Defence Authorization Act]-required Secretary of Defence F-35 report to Congress for their decision on the way forward. Department leadership will continue to work closely with Congress to answer any of their questions," Andrews told the news agency.

    The Pentagon may also release an "unclassified update" of the report to the public next week, the spokesman said.

    Turkey has invested up to $1 billion into the F-35 program, providing multiple components for every F-35 and engaging in development work during the design stage along with a handful of other US allies.

    The Trump administration blocked the delivery of F-35s to Turkey in August after just two planes were delivered, ordering the Pentagon to create a report on Turkish-American relations in 90 days amid fears that the plane's secret technologies could be leaked if sold to Ankara. US officials have also expressed concerns about Turkey's plans to buy Russia's S-400 air defence system, presumably because the S-400s will allow Turkey to test just how formidable the F-35's stealth systems are when matched up against the Russian air defence platform.

    Ankara had been expected to earn some $12 billion on the manufacture of F-35 components, and has plans to purchase over 100 of the fifth-generation jets, which are priced between $115 and $198 million apiece.

    Last month, Turkey's defence ministry announced that that the US would deliver two more F-35s to Turkey in March 2019. Russia is expected to begin deliveries of Turkey's order of S-400s in October 2019.


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