Transfers to Turkey of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 would be barred temporarily under a compromise defense policy measure agreed to on Monday, according to House and Senate aides.
Turkish receipt of the fighter jets would be held back until the Pentagon submitted an assessment within 90 days of the measure’s enactment on U.S.-Turkish relations, the impact of Turkey’s planned acquisition of Russia’s advanced S-400 missile defense system and the ramifications for the U.S. industrial base if Turkey is dropped from the international F-35 program.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had warned Congress against cutting off transfers of the F-35. In a letter to lawmakers this month, Mattis said he agreed “with congressional concerns about the authoritarian drift in Turkey and its impact on human rights and rule of law.” But he said an F-35 cutoff would risk triggering an international “supply chain disruption” that would drive up costs and delay deliveries of the fighter.
Under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey plans to buy about 100 F-35s, joining the U.K. and Australia as the top international customers. At least 10 Turkish companies are building parts and components, such as the cockpit displays, for other partners, according to Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed.
The compromise measure crafted by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees also would let the president waive a requirement to impose sanctions on countries and entities doing business with Russia for as long as 180 days if the party involved is taking steps to distance itself from a commercial relationship with the Russian defense and intelligence sectors, according to committee aides and a Democratic summary of the bill.
There is a lot of talk about how this is because of Erdogan is an authoritarian who is destroying the democratic structures in Turkey, and because security issues over the the S-400 purchase.
I call bullsh%$ on this.
It’s really about how the buying a Russian SAM system, means that western defense contractors, (Particularly US ones) are not getting a cut of the business.