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F25 jets: Turkey hires law firm to pressure Biden over F-35 planes: report




Turkey has hired an international law firm to help it regain its place in the United States-led F-35 fighter program, state media reported on Friday.

Six-month contract with Arnold & Porter – worth $ 750,000 (€ 620,000) – comes as Turkey seeks a solution with US President Joe Biden over its controversial missile system purchase Russian.

The Washington-based law firm did not immediately comment.

Turkey was kicked out of the F-35 fighter jet program in 2019 as punishment for its decision to acquire advanced Russian hardware after failing to agree on the US Patriots used by most other member states of NATO.

Washington slapped the Turkish military purchasing agency for sanctions after the S-400s were first tested late last year.

The United States is concerned that S-400 systems could help Russia gather intelligence and better shoot down NATO fighter jets if they are fully integrated with Turkish defenses.

The Pentagon confirmed earlier this month that it believes Russian systems are “incompatible” with F-35 planes and that sanctions against Turkey will remain in place until the S-400s are removed.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar suggested a compromise solution earlier this month, which would see the S-400s packed and deployed only when needed.

The State Department appeared to reject this suggestion, saying, “Our policy on the S-400 has not changed.”

Biden’s administration has taken a much tougher posture with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan than Ankara was when Donald Trump was in the White House.

Biden has still not called Erdogan, and the State Department has strongly criticized Turkey’s human rights record since taking the oath last month.

Turkey was both a supplier of parts and a buyer of F-35s.

U.S. officials say the sanctions will still allow jet prime contractor Lockheed Martin to honor its ongoing contracts in Turkey.

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