Trump signs bill blocking transfer of F-35s to Turkey

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday signed a spending bill that blocks the transfer of the F-35 new generation fighter jets to Turkey. 

According to the spending bill signed by Trump on Friday, delivery of the jets to Turkey will be blocked until the U.S. Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense submit an update to the report regarding the purchase of Turkey of the S–400 missile defense system from the Russian Federation.

In an earlier report to Congress in late November, the Pentagon said Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile systems could result in Ankara’s potential expulsion from the F-35 program, as well as affecting its acquisition of other weapons including Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook helicopter and Lockheed’s F-16 fighter and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the purchase and stated that there was no turning back from receiving the S-400 air defense systems from Russia in 2019.

The Congressional bill requires the U.S. departments to include a detailed description of plans for the imposition of sanctions, if Turkey goes ahead with the S-400 systems pursuant to section 231 of the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017 (Public Law 115–44).

The Congress asks U.S. secretaries to deliver the report by November 1, 2019.

The same spending bill also blocks the sale of weapons to Erdoğan’s security guards unless Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informs Congress that the guards charged with the assault on protestors in Washington, DC in May of 2017 have been brought to the court.