ANKARA --- Turkish defense companies may face temporary losses after a U.S. decision to remove Ankara from the F-35 fighter jet program but the industry will emerge stronger as a result, the head of Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate said on Thursday.
The United States says it is removing Turkey from the F-35 jet program over its purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems, which Washington says could compromise the stealth capabilities of the F-35 jets.
Turkey has dismissed those concerns and last week took delivery of the first shipment of S-400 parts, prompting Wednesday’s decision by Washington to end Turkey’s involvement in the F-35 program. Turkish firms had been producing F-35 parts and Ankara had ordered more than 100 of the jets.
Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Ismail Demir said the move was unilateral and not in line with the agreement signed between the parties, and added that Turkey would continue meeting its commitments until its exclusion from the program is finalised.
“It is a controversial decision that has no place in the signed agreements. We are waiting for this to become official,” Demir said.
“Our companies may face losses initially, and even though issues like sanctions and more may lead to temporary losses for the defense industry, we think it will result in our defense industry becoming stronger,” he said. (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: According to US undersecretary of defense Ellen Lord, “Turkey will certainly, and regrettably, lose jobs and future economic opportunities from this decision.
“It will no longer receive more than $9 billion in projected work share related to the F-35 over the life of the program.
“Turkey made more than 900 parts for the F-35 and had been assigned more than $1 billion in industrial participation across 10 Turkish suppliers.”
She further added that “the U.S. and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the program.”
This consensus, rather than a unilateral decision by the United States, is the legal basis for ejecting Turkey from the F-35 program.
Significantly, this means that Turkey has no legal recourse to oppose its ejection from the program.)