Turkey hires Washington lobbyists in bid for return to F-35 program

Feb 19, 2021

Turkey’s authorities has employed a regulation agency in Washington to foyer on its behalf because it seeks rapport with the Biden administration amid a unbroken dispute over Ankara’s buy of Russia’s S-400 air protection system.

A protection firm owned by Turkey’s primary protection industrial company signed a contract with the Arnold & Porter regulation agency to offer “strategic recommendation and outreach” in a bid to influence US policymakers to readmit Turkey to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, Reuters first reported.

The USA expelled NATO ally Turkey from the F-35 program in 2019 after the federal government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan bought Russia’s S-400 air protection system. The USA insists the S-400’s radar might expose to the Kremlin delicate particulars concerning the F-35’s superior know-how.

Biden administration officers have reiterated the stance put forth by the Trump administration: Turkey can not acquire the F-35 until it strikes the S-400 out of its nation.

Senior Turkish officers have publicly rejected that choice, as a substitute floating much more modest compromises.

Protection Minister Hulusi Akar earlier this month likened Turkey’s possession of the Russian system to Greece’s continued possession of an older S-300, and stated Turkey doesn’t must make the most of the system the entire time.

Akar additionally stated that the NATO allies ought to “discover a answer” to the dispute, however that none stays doable till the US addresses its help to a Kurdish-led militia in Syria within the combat towards the Islamic State. Turkey considers the Kurdish-led fighters to be inextricable from the Kurdistan Employees Occasion, which is designated a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies.

Following Akar’s feedback, US State Division spokesman Ned Value shortly signaled the Biden administration was not desirous about compromise.

Arnold & Porter was employed by the Ankara-based SSTEK Protection Trade Applied sciences, which is owned by Turkey’s Presidency of Protection Industries. The Trump administration focused Presidency of Protection Industries with restricted, last-minute sanctions in December over the S-400 buy.

Ankara test-fired the system final 12 months, drawing renewed objections from Congress. The USA is obligated underneath Article 231 of a 2017 regulation, the Countering America’s Adversaries by way of Sanctions Act, to economically penalize international locations that full main transactions with Russia’s protection trade.

Throughout this week’s annual NATO ministerial assembly in Brussels, Akar stated sanctions towards Turkey solely serve to weaken the alliance.

This week’s summit included renewed focus on shoring up the Western pact after latest years’ inner tumult, as Turkey has doubled down on disputes with its allies and after France’s President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 took it upon himself to diagnose the alliance’s “mind demise.”

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