Tension Between Turkey and US Over F-35 Jets and Local Elections

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The latest development regarding the tension between Turkey and the US over the F-35 fighter jets has been the decision of the US to halt delivery of equipment related to the F-35s to Turkey.

After this move, which can be regarded as “the first concrete step to block delivery of the jet to Turkey, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have met in the US.

US Department of State: Pompeo made warnings

As reported by the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA), the US Department of State has released a statement after the meeting. 

In the statement of the department, it has been indicated that Mike Pompeo expressed support for ongoing negotiations regarding northeast Syria and made warnings regarding the “potentially devastating consequences” of Turkey’s planned military operation in the region.

In his meeting with Çavuşoğlu, Pompeo also discussed his concerns regarding Turkey’s potential acquisition of Russia’s S-400 missile system. According to the statement, “the potential economic opportunities between Turkey and the US were also a focus of the discussion.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: It was not even raised

Hami Aksoy, the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, has also made a statement regarding the meeting.

Aksoy has stated, “The readout published today by the Department of State and obviously prepared before the meeting held between Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not only fails to reflect the content of the meeting, but also contains matters that were not even raised during the said meeting,”

Underlining that similar incidents also occurred in the past, Aksoy further stated that the alliance between Turkey and the US naturally required such statements be prepared with “greater care.”

Reaction to US statement on local elections

The first statement made by the US regarding the March 31 General Local Elections came from Robert Palladino, the Deputy Spokesperson for the US State Department. In a press briefing, Palladino said,

“Free and fair elections are essential for any democracy. That means acceptance of legitimate election results, which is essential. We expect nothing less from Turkey, which has a long, proud tradition in this respect.”

In response to these remarks, Aksoy has said,

“No country has the right to intervene in the election results of another country in a way that is far from law and democracy and to see itself as a source of legitimacy of the results. Anti-democratic approaches and habits can no way overshadow Turkey’s democratic maturity.”

In a tweet that he has posted, Communications Director of the Presidency Fahrettin Altun has also stated the following:

“Sunday’s election took place in an orderly and peaceful fashion. Elections are the cornerstone of our nation’s democracy. The Turkish people expressed their will through the ballot box for 70 years. The authorities have a responsibility to ensure that elections are free and fair.

“It is equally crucial that the vote count occurs according to the law. We are closely monitoring the situation, as multiple political parties challenged preliminary results due to alleged procedural errors and other irregularities.

“We are confident that electoral authorities will resolve all disputes swiftly, transparently and for good. We urge all parties, including foreign governments, to respect the legal process and refrain from any steps that may be construed as meddling in Turkey’s internal affairs.”

Russia: US is exerting pressure on its allies

Earlier today (April 4), Alexander Grushko, the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, has made a statement regarding the tension between Turkey and the US over F-35 jets and local elections.

As reported by Russia-based Sputnik news agency, Grushko has said, “It is well known that the United States uses any possible ways of exerting pressure on its allies in all the issues… So, the US pressure on Turkey is by no means surprising.” (PT/SD)