ANKARA – On leaving Greece, Turkey hired a Washington-based law firm to buy American-made F-35 fighter jets after being barred from the sale for acquiring a system Russian missile defense system S-400.
A contract filed with the US Department of Justice showed Turkey’s move after it was barred from buying F-35s during former President Donald Trump’s tenure despite his friendship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey had ordered more than 100 stealth fighters and was making parts for their production, but was pulled from the program in 2019 after the United States said the Russian system would threaten the F-35s.
The fighter jets could also be used against Greece, which has F-16s, but after Turkey was prevented from buying F-35s, it wanted to acquire them and modernize the current fighter fleet.
Turkey has hired law firm Arnold & Porter for “strategic advice and outreach” to US authorities, under a six-month contract valued at $ 750,000 that began this month. ci, the Reuters news agency reported.
For some reason, Turkey is hoping for more favorable treatment from the administration of new President Joe Biden, which has long-standing ties to Greece and the Greek-American community.
The contract was signed with Ankara-based SSTEK Defense Industry Technologies, owned by Turkey’s Defense Industries Presidency (SSB), the main authority in Ankara’s defense industry, according to the report.
Arnold & Porter “will advise on a strategy for SSB and Turkish entrepreneurs to remain in the Joint Strike Fighter program, taking into account and addressing the complex geopolitical and business factors at play,” the contract says.
Despite Turkey’s withdrawal from the program and sanctions imposed on the Turkish defense industry in December, the Pentagon has said it will continue to depend on Turkish contractors for key F-35 components, showing the curious interdependence of geopolitical interests.
Turkey’s communications director Fahrettin Altun said Turkey has already paid for some F-35 planes. “Even a hangar charge was levied on Turkey for jets it could not take delivery,” he said during a NATO-related event on February 18.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, speaking after a meeting of NATO defense ministers, said he had “brought to the attention of our allies that the licensing , attempted sanctions or even the threat of sanctions against Turkey ”only weaken the alliance.
But NATO said it was the Russian system that threatened the alliance and refused to intervene in Turkish violations of Greek airspace and waters despite Greece and Turkey being in the group. .
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