President Trump is kicking Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet program over the NATO ally’s insistence on purchasing Russian-made anti-aircraft defenses, the White House announced.
“Unfortunately, Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible,” said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities.”
The announcement came amid a steady stream of Russian military planes delivering the advanced anti-aircraft defense systems to Ankara this week. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has insisted on his right to deploy the warplanes alongside Russia’s technology, resulting in a standoff that could have far-reaching consequences for the transatlantic alliance.