The U.S. decided to sell F-35 fighter jets initially intended for Turkey to its opponent, Greece, reported the Greek media referring to the agreements reached during the recent visit of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Athens.
According to the deal, a total of 20 fighters will be delivered to Greece, including those multifunctional F-35 fighter jets that Turkey was supposed to receive. Greece is now waiting for the first six aircraft to be delivered. In addition, Athens will purchase six Rafale fighter jets from France.
The Greek media writes that the catalyst for sending F-35 fighter jets to Athens was Turkey’s test of Russian S-400 anti-missile systems. The U.S. was outraged and threatened Turkey with sanctions. In response, Turkish President Recep Erdogan said that his country is not going to integrate the systems into the NATO infrastructure, but has the sovereign right to acquire and test whatever it wants.
In 2017,Russia and Turkey have signed a contract for the purchase by the Turkish side of Russian S-400 air -defense missile systems. Deliveries began in July 2019. The deal led to the worsening of Ankara’s relations with Washington, and Turkey lost its place in the F-35 program. According to the U.S., Russian participation in the Turkish air defense, operating in the same region as the F-35, will help Russian intelligence to obtain valuable technical information.