June 21, 2019 / 8:15 AM / a year ago

U.S. cannot unilaterally remove Turkey from F-35 programme -Turkish defense official

ISTANBUL, June 21 (Reuters) - The United States cannot unilaterally remove Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet programme as the partnership agreement does not allow it, Turkey's head of Defense Industries Directorate said on Friday.

Turkey's defense industry could suffer in the event of U.S. sanctions, but will get through it, Demir told reporters. Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads for months over Turkey's planned purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense system.

U.S. says S-400 is incompatible with NATO's defence network and could compromise its F-35 fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping build and planning to buy.

Reporting by Daren Butler and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Jonathan Spicer

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