Wednesday, Jan 20

NATO chief express concerns over Pentagon’s F-35 decision

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he was concerned at Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 program.
18.07.2019 - 10:08

NATO’s secretary general on Wednesday praised Turkey’s role in the alliance hours after the US formally initiated the process to expel it from the F-35 fighter jet program.

Speaking at the Aspen Institute's annual security forum in Colorado, Jens Stoltenberg said he was concerned over Turkey's expulsion.

"IT’S A BAD DECISION FOR ALL OF US"

"I am concerned about the consequences of the Turkish decision because it means Turkey will not be part of the F-35 program," he said.  "It is not good; bad for all of us," he added.

"Turkey's contribution to NATO runs much deeper and much broader than the F-35. That is important," said Stoltenberg, adding the international coalition in Syria could have defeated Daesh "because of the contributions of Turkey".

"WE USE TURKEY’S BASES"

"We used the bases, infrastructure and Turkey played a key part in that fight," he said, adding Turkish troops are contributing to different missions and operations, citing Kosovo and Afghanistan. He also said that no other NATO member has raised the exclusion of Turkey from the F-35 program "because we all see that we are dependent on each other".


Stoltenberg reiterated that the S-400 could not become part of NATO's shared missile defense but Turkey has aircraft and radars that would remain part of the system. "The S-400, it’s not possible to integrate into the integrated NATO air defense and missile system, which is about sharing radar pictures, about joint air policing, which is about shared capabilities. And Turkey has not asked for that," Stoltenberg said.

"My responsibility is partly to try to help solve the issue. But as long as the issue is not solved, we need to minimize negative consequences," he added. "The role of Turkey is much broader than the F-35 or S-400."