Adam Smith, chairman of the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, said Turkey would not be able to return to the F-35 program even if Sweden and Finland were to approve NATO membership.
Adam Smith, Chairman of the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, has argued that Turkey cannot negotiate with Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership against the purchase of F-35 fighter jets.
Turkey was unilaterally excluded from the F-35 program on the grounds that it had purchased S-400 air defense systems from Russia.
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Adam Smith, Chairman of the US House of Representatives Armed Forces Committee, was also asked about the F-35 issue at an event where he met with defense industry reporters.
Upon the statements that “Turkey is using the return to the F-35 program as a bargaining chip in exchange for Finland and Sweden’s approval of NATO membership,” he said that he did not see such a bargain possible.
Emphasizing that Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 defense system from Russia is a serious concern for the US, Smith said, “The issue is not to punish Turkey for buying weapons from Russia. This is a concern about the S-400 not being in the same place as the F-35 and the concern that critical information there could reach the Russians. I think ultimately they will be given some weapons but not the F-35 fighter jets,” Smith said.
Adam Smith has no direct influence on the final decision to authorize arms exports to Turkey. Issues related to US arms exports fall under the purview of the Foreign Relations Committee. However, Smith’s remarks are important as they may reflect the view of the Joe Biden administration.
Meanwhile, the US, which excluded Turkey from the F-35 program due to its purchase of the S-400 air defense system from Russia, gave the green light for the sale of F-16s.