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Standoff escalates between Trump administration, Turkey over deal with Russia

The Trump administrationis locked in an escalating standoff with Turkey over its plans to purchase an air defense system from Russia, with a deadline fast-approaching for Ankara to back down or lose out on U.S.-made F-35s – and possibly more.

In a letter to Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan pointedly threatened to block Turkey from receiving F-35 jets if the NATO member goes through with procuring the S-400 system.

“Turkey will not receive the F-35 if Turkey takes delivery of the S-400,” he wrote. “You still have the option to change course on the S-400.”

Turkey has been a joint participant in the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program since its Defense Industrial Executive Committee approved a block buy in 2016 for 24 aircraft over three contract years. The country already bought four F-35 fighter jets, which are being held at the Luke Air Force Base for now.

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