Jul 12 2019

Trump’s nominee for top general role reiterates U.S. opposition to Turkey's S-400 purchase

Turkey should not receive the F-35 fighter jets that it has purchased, and it should be expelled from the F-35 programme if Ankara accepts delivery of Russian S-400 missile systems, said U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday.

U.S. officials say the S-400 is incompatible with NATO defences and have repeatedly threatened Turkey with sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and expulsion from the F-35 fighter jet programme if it installs the Russian systems.

"If confirmed, my recommendation would be to discontinue the transfer of F35 aircraft to Turkey and unwind Turkey from the F-35 program if Turkey accepts delivery of the S-400," current Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley said at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Milley will replace Gen. Joseph Dunford to become the United States’ highest ranking military officer if he is confirmed as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Sympathetic statements from Trump about the S-400 crisis with Turkey during the G-20 summit in Osaka last month were interpreted by Turkish officials as a sign that sanctions could be avoided.

However, several analysts have argued that Trump has limited options to save Turkey from U.S. measures. Once the Russian missile systems are delivered to Turkey, the CAATSA legislation states that the U.S. President shall impose sanctions and the president must choose five of 12 proposed sanctions.