July 22, 2024

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Solve the problem of the Russian S-400 and then talk about the F-35

Solve the problem of the Russian S-400 and then talk about the F-35

The US Ambassador to Ankara gave a full interview about US-Turkish relations, Jeff FlakeHe mentioned, among other things, the US military presence in Greece and the sale of fighter jets to Turkey F16.

In response to the question of TV network journalist Hakan Celik, whether the transfer of American forces to Alexandroupolis was directed against Turkey, the American ambassador said: “These allegations have no basisTo add: “We value our NATO allies.” We do not prefer one over the other. “There is a small focus in Alexandroupoli, but it is urgently needed to support defense efforts in Ukraine.”

He added that Turkey “helped a lot” by triggering the Montreux Agreement, “but it also prevents the allies from resupplying Ukraine.”

He added, “The concentration (of military forces) in Greece is merely an attempt to resupply. We do not favor one ally over another. And we Very happy with the fact that Türkiye and Greece decided to make the Aegean Sea a sea of ​​peace. “It is very nice to see that there are no flights, provocations or anything that harms bilateral relations,” the American diplomat said.

Jeff Flake stressed, “I can say this with certainty that Turkey is our partner and we are not trying to create a confrontation with Turkey.” He stressed that the United States is concerned about what is happening in Ukraine, “and we are doing everything in our power to support it.”

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Referring to the sale of US F-16 fighter jets to Turkey and modernization equipment for the existing Turkish fleet, Ambassador Flake noted that Congress had approved it, and more recently, Turkey signed a so-called letter of acceptance with Lockheed Martin, which would Turkey manufactures new aircraft and then, in cooperation with Turkey, renews old models. “The Block 70 is the most technologically advanced F-16 and it is very important for Turkey to remain interoperable with its NATO partners. This is a big step,” he commented.

Regarding the joint production of F-16 aircraft that Ankara requests from Washington, he noted: “Returning to co-production is a difficult pointBut I leave the decision to the partners in this matter. However, it can be purchased.

Regarding Turkey’s return to the more technologically advanced F-35 fighter program, from which it was expelled due to the purchase of a Russian anti-aircraft system, the US ambassador welcomed “every step taken to solve the problem.” S-400 issueWhich prevents Türkiye from participating in the F-35 program,” adding that “If progress is made on this issue, we welcome the resumption of talks with Türkiye».

Jeff Flake was also asked about the visit that the Turkish President was scheduled to make to Washington on May 9 and was postponed. “We have an open invitation to President Erdogan To come to the White House, if our dates coincide. This could be done at the NATO summit. “We are mobilizing our energy for any type of high-level meeting that may take place.”

The American ambassador in Ankara expressed the view that the partnership between the two countries is stronger than ever. “When I compare where we are today to where we were before I came here, and when I watched the Senate hearings, there is a big difference,” he said, attributing the improvement in the climate in US-Turkish relations “to Turkey’s response to the Russian invasion.” Ukraine and whether it acted as a true NATO ally.” He noted that the climate has changed in recent years on Capitol Hill.

A “thorn” in US relations with Turkey is the alliance of US forces in northern Syria with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurdish-controlled militia affiliated with the PYD, which Ankara describes as terrorist and rebel. It considers it an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is working against Türkiye. The Turkish side had warned that it would use any means to prevent the holding of local elections scheduled for June 11 in northern Syria, which it described as a “prelude” to the establishment of a Kurdish state in the region. Referring to this issue, Jeff Flake said: “We have always said that elections in Syria must be fair, transparent, free, and inclusive. These conditions do not currently exist, so we do not support any electoral process at this time. But we have the same goal, which is to defeat ISIS, and we are working with our Turkish partners on this matter.”

He repeated that too The United States has considered the PKK a terrorist organization since 1997He added: “But we have differences regarding the Syrian Democratic Forces, but we do not let that prevent us from working with Turkey.” We will look for more comprehensive ways of cooperation.”

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Finally, in reference to the war in Gaza, which is the subject of intense disagreements between Ankara and Washington, Ambassador Jeff Flake stressed that “our president (Joe Biden) spoke several times about this issue and urged Israel to be careful. What was said in public and what was said in secret is very important.” “Israel was asked to take all necessary precautions to protect civilians.”

He also indicated that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to speak with President Biden, whether at the invitation of the US Congress or not. “We are pressing them to protect civilians in their defense against Hamas, but we stand with Israel as an ally of the United States. We want to end the attacks on Gaza, and that is why we took the initiative for a ceasefire.” He added that the United States appreciates Turkey’s support in this regard, stressing that how to achieve a ceasefire depends on the parties concerned.

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