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Tillis Statement on the Administration’s Decision to Suspend the Delivery of F-35 Equipment to Turkey

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) issued the following statement regarding the announcement by the Trump Administration that it will halt the delivery of F-35 equipment to Turkey after the decision by the Turkish government to proceed with the purchase of the Russia’s S-400 air defense system:

“Turkey’s decision to purchase the S-400 air defense system from NATO’s adversary Russia is alarming and could have severe national security implications for the United States. I applaud the Pentagon’s decision to suspend Turkey’s F-35 capabilities, and I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to ensure our NATO allies, including Turkey, are meeting their obligations.”

The announcement comes on the heels of bipartisan legislation co-introduced by Senators Tillis, Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), James Lankford (R-OK) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) to prohibit the transfer of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Turkey until our government certifies that Turkey will not accept delivery of Russia’s S-400 air defense system.

Last year, Tillis, Lankford, and Shaheen introduced a similar bill to stop the transfer of fighter aircraft to Turkey their government committed a number human rights violations, including the unjust imprisonment of an American pastor Andrew Brunson. Pastor Brunson was released in October 2018 after being detained for two years. A version of the bill was included as an amendment in the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act directing the Secretary of Defense to submit a plan to Congress to remove Turkey from participation in the F-35 program.

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