- The Washington Times - Friday, June 14, 2019

Top Turkish officials vowed Friday to retaliate against the U.S. over the Trump White House’s threats to expel the NATO partner from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

“If the United States takes any negative actions towards us, we will also take reciprocal steps,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with Turkish media, referring to the Pentagon’s efforts to curtail and possibly eliminate Ankara’s role in F-35, the most advanced fighter jet the U.S. has ever deployed.

Pentagon officials terminated training programs for Turkish pilots aboard the F-35 in protest of Ankara’s controversial deal to purchase the Russian-made S-400 missile system. Earlier this week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the deal with Moscow was already complete, and weapon deliveries could begin as soon as July.

“Turkey has already bought S-400 defense systems. It is a done deal. I hope these systems will be delivered to our country next month,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara. The Turkish leader plans to discuss the issue with Pentagon officials and U.S. diplomats before he meets Mr. Trump at the G-20 summit in Japan at the end of the month.

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