US, Turkey proceed meetings to solve F-35 conflict

The delegations of the Turkish Defense Ministry and the U.S. Department of Defense held the second round of F-35 fighter jets consultations in Washington on Jan. 19, Türkiye’s Defense Ministry has informed.

“The delegations agreed upon the continuation of the consultations. The following meeting is scheduled to take place in Ankara in spring 2023,” said the statement.

A dialogue process was initiated between Ankara and Washington to find a solution to problems that rose over Türkiye’s exclusion from the F-35 fighter jet program, and the first meeting was held in 2021.

Türkiye was ousted from the F-35 program in 2019 due to its deployment of the S-400 air defense systems from Russia, and the fighter jets Türkiye paid for were not delivered.

The U.S. claimed that the Russian S-400 would compromise security on the F-35s, but Türkiye said these fears were baseless and has repeatedly proposed setting up a commission to clarify the issue.

Ankara says it paid $1.4 billion for five planes and asks the U.S. to reimburse the money after it was formally excluded from the program on Sept. 23, 2021. These talks are described to be technical and will be held with the participation of legal consultants, lawyers and experts.