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Trump Offered Turkey F-35 Jets In Exchange For Not Invading Syria

Trump Offered Turkey F-35 Jets In Exchange For Not Invading Syria
Credits: theaustralian.com.au

According to Business Insider, In a phone call between President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the US president reportedly advised Turkey not to invade northeastern Syria and offered to resume sales of the US’s fifth-generation aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-35.

Trump offered Erdogan “a really good package,” in addition to other benefits and a presidential visit, a senior State Department official told the Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin.

However, it seemed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected President Donald Trump’s offer as on Thursday Turkey Launches Major Military Offensive In Syria To Create A “Safe Zone”.

The move came after the United States announced it was withdrawing its troops from the region, leaving the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), its main ally in the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) armed group, without US military support.

Turkey launched an assault on Kurdish positions in northern Syria on Wednesday with airstrikes and explosions reported near the border.

Thousands of US-backed Kurds are stationed in northeastern Syria, and observers say Trump’s decision has left the Kurdish fighters vulnerable to Turkish attack and may even fuel an ISIS resurgence.

Trump Offered Turkey F-35 Jets In Exchange For Not Invading Syria
A 33rd Fighter Wing F-35A Lightning II at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Sept. 18, 2019.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Amber Litteral)

Trump’s purported offer to Erdogan marks a departure from the US’s policy since July not to include Turkey in its flagship F-35 program. The US granted F-35 contracts to several allies, including the UK and South Korea, but took Turkey off that list when it purchased Russia’s advanced S-400 air-defense systems.

“The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence-collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” the White House said in a statement at the time.

“Turkey has been a long-standing and trusted partner and NATO ally for over 65 years, but accepting the S-400 undermines the commitments all NATO allies made to each other to move away from Russian systems,” the statement added. “This will have detrimental impacts on Turkish interoperability with the alliance.”

Turkey, which created more than 900 parts for the F-35, was removed from the program and is expected to be replaced by American manufacturers by March 2020, according to Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson. The country had said it would buy 100 F-35As.

The US also withdrew its offer of a $3.5 billion Patriot missile-system contract over Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400s.

Turkish officials protested the expulsions and described it as a “mistake which would open irreparable wounds.”

 

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