US and Turkey: row over fighter jet programme

Ankara has described Turkey's suspension from the F-35 fighter jet programme as a major mistake. In response to Turkey's purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Russia, the White House announced that Turkey will not receive any more F-35 jets and will no longer be involved in their production. What will be the consequences of this step?

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Die Welt (DE) /

Turkey is essential for Nato

To call Turkey's Nato membership into question would be a panic reaction, Die Welt cautions:

“The alliance has interests to safeguard, not just in the Baltic but also in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. If Ankara left Nato it would not allow big Nato ships into the Bosphoros. This would theoretically give Russia the chance to set up another marine or airbase in the Mediterranean. At the same time - and this is the most dangerous part - it would allow the latent conflict between Turkey and Greece to become an ongoing threat to the Nato alliance according to article 5. It would be a completely new front line with unforeseeable complications.”

Karar (TR) /

Missiles useless to Ankara

Ankara's purchase of the S-400 system makes no sense in terms of military strategy, Karar comments:

“While we are implementing the F-35 project together with our allies, the Russians are developing missile defence systems to shoot down the fighter jets we produce. So now we're buying S-400 missiles to shoot down our own planes? Doesn't that seem a little strange? And there's something else that needs explaining: which people or which country are we planning to target with the S-400 missiles? The most problematic country for us right now is Syria. Could we deploy these missiles to counter an airstrike from Syria? Of course not, because Syria is Russia's most important ally and most of its fighter jets were produced in Russia.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Erdoğan has blown it

Erdoğan clearly wasn't expecting such a tough reaction, Deutschlandfunk surmises:

“Turkey's expulsion from the F35 programme seems to have come as a shock for the entire Turkish leadership as well as Erdoğan. ... Erdoğan has really blown it by buying the S-400. Turkey has, or at least had, not only ordered more than 100 F35 jets, it was also the co-developer and supplier of around 900 components. According to US estimates, over the duration of the programme this will cost Turkey more than nine billion US dollars in revenues. And yet the fighter jet would probably have been of more use to the Turks than the missile defence system, which even the experts have no idea where to station.”

NV (UA) /

Ankara will exact revenge

Turkey won't take the expulsion lying down, comments journalist Ivan Yakovyna in Novoye Vremya:

“Turkey has plenty of possibilities to take revenge. It can betray Nato secrets to Russia or kick the US out of the huge and strategically critical İncirlik air base, where nuclear arms and other equipment are stored. ... The entire logistics of the Pentagon in the Middle East depends on active use of the İncirlik air base and Turkish air space. If the US and Turkey fall out (and right now it looks very much as they will) the US will find it extremely complicated to launch a military operation against Iran, for example.”