Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 fighter programme will inevitably entail legal action and seriously inflate the price of the project, the country’s former Foreign Minister said Tuesday.
"Turkey is a member of a consortium that manufactures the F-35 stealth jets. The cancellation of contracts will involve legal actions. It will cause considerable increases in the cost of each aircraft and delays in the completion of the project," Sputnik reported, quoting Yasar Yakis, former Turkish Foreign Minister, as saying.
Turkey has pumped in $1.2 billion worth of investment in the F-35 programme. Yakis stated that some of the 844 parts made by Turkish industries are of sole Turkish origin and not made by other countries.
“I presume that both the US authorities and Lockheed, the mother company for the manufacture of F-35s in the US, will take all these factors into account,” the former minister added.
The US-Turkey relationship soured over the latter signed a $2.5 billion deal for S-400 air defence systems with Russia. Deliveries of the systems began on July 12, causing further strain. According to media reports, the US is set to unveil sanctions on Ankara over the deal later in the week.
Other than being a part of the F-35 programme, Ankara has also placed an order for 116 F-35s. Four of them have been already delivered to the Turkish Air Force inventory, but are still being held in the US.
Yakis also opined that if the existing speculations on possible weaknesses of F-35s turned out to be true, "it would be good (for Turkey) not to receive them."