Turkish Ambassador to US: F-35s to be stationed outside S-400 cover zone
The American 5th generation F-35 fighter jets will be stationed in Turkey outside the zone covered by the Russian S-400 aerial defense systems, said Turkish Ambassador to the US Serdar Kiliç.
“The S-400s and the F-35s will be stationed in two specific regions of Turkey, and the F-35s will not be in the zone covered by the S-400s,” he said at the National Press Club in Washington.
The Turkish diplomat drew attention to the fact that Israeli F-35s fly over Syria, where there are also Russian S-400 aerial defense systems, but this does not bother the US.
“But when it comes to Turkey, which is trying to set up an anti-air defense system, and not an attack system, problems arise,” Kiliç remarked.
He also gave his assurance that the aerial defense systems will only be operated by the Turkish military.
On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again suggested that US President Donald Trump establish a work group concerning the S-400s, which Washington is trying to persuade Ankara not to buy. Turkey has already made it clear that it will not call off its plans to buy the S-400s. The first of the systems is scheduled to arrive in the country in July.
The US says that the S-400 systems are incompatible with NATO standards. Washington has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey for buying the systems, and has on multiple occasions threatened to call off the deal to sell Turkey F-35 fighters (Turkey is a participant in the US’s international F-35 program). Ankara has repeatedly claimed that the S-400s do not pose a threat to the American F-35s.