AFP
Legislative Barrier for F-35

Legislative Barrier for F-35 May 25, 2018

The first legislative barrier for the F-35 sales to Turkey emerged. The US House of Representatives approved the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) which regulates the framework of the annual $716 billion defence policy. Following in this development, Defence Minister was requested in the draft version prepared by the House of Representatives to prepare a report on the state of relations between Turkey and the suspension of the F-35 sales was suggested until the report was ready. The Senate version of the NDAA has also passed the first stage of enactment. Senate Armed Services Committee also adopted its own version and Turkey was requested to be removed from the F-35 program. This version of the bill will be voted in the Senate after the Committee. If the bill is accepted in the Senate, representatives from both legislative bodies will come together and negotiate on two different versions, and they will finalize the draft. It is not yet known whether the final version of the bill that will be sent to the President Donald Trump for approval will include any amendments regarding Turkey or what could those amendments be. The "Report on the Status of US Relations with the Republic of Turkey" included in the bill, some developments have been summed up; The possibility of the Turkish government to buy the S-400 air and missile defence systems from the Russian Federation has caused the tension to rise in relations. This action could further worsen the existing strains on interoperability of NATO's ability to cooperate in joint military structuring and information sharing.

The topics requested to include in the report are as follows: the assesment of US military and diplomatic presence in Turkey including the US Incirlik Air Base and other places with military activities; the assessment of Turkey's purchase of S-400 and it's potential effects on the US -Turkey bilateral relations and also on jointly used weapons systems and platforms such as the F-35, Patriot missile defence system, CH-47 Chinook helicopters, AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters, Black Hawk General Purpose and F-16s; determining the other air and missile defence systems that can be purchased by the Turkish government.

The bill anticipates the suspension of F-35 sales to Turkey until this report is submitted. Turkey is both the partner supplier and the recipient of F-35 aircraft. Some parts of the plane are produced in Turkey. The first delivery is scheduled for 21 June.

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