The United States is seriously considering suspending the training of Turkish pilots on advanced F-35 fighter jets, according to Reuters sources on Wednesday, as Ankara moved ahead with plans to buy a Russian missile defense system despite Washington's objections.
The United States and Turkey have been locked in controversy for months about Turkey's intention to buy the Russian S-400 missile defense system, which Washington says is incompatible with NATO's defense network. F-35s, which Turkey plans to buy, may also threaten.
Last week, Turkish Defense Minister Khulosi Akar said Turkey was preparing for possible US sanctions over the purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems, although he said he was seeing an improvement in talks with the United States over the purchase of US F-35 fighter jets.
Akar told reporters that Turkey was carrying out its obligations in the F-35 project and Ankara expected the program to continue as planned. He added that the purchase of the S-400 systems is intended only to meet Turkey's defense needs and poses no threat.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagos said her country's S-400 position had not changed.