Congress is taking the unusual step of trying to block the transfer of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Turkey, even though the country is a NATO ally and a partner in building the jet.
Congress’ most recent move comes as part of the 2019 Pentagon spending bill that both chambers are expected to consider later this month. Transfers of the F-35 would be held back under a compromise struck on the spending bill for the next fiscal year, according to Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas.).
Turkey finds itself in an unfurling diplomatic conflict with the U.S. over the imprisonment of an American pastor and the country’s willingness to strike a deal with Russia for air defense systems.
U.S. lawmakers’ decision to temporarily block the transfers to Turkey coincides with Ankara’s recent decision to buy a Russian-made S-400 missile defense system. Russia is expected to deliver the air-defense system to Turkey by the middle of next year, even as the Trump administration is still trying to persuade the NATO ally to buy Raytheon Co.’s Patriot system. (end of excerpt)
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