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Former US Ambassador Supports Turkiye Acquiring F-35s

Former US Ambassador Supports Turkiye Acquiring F-35s

James Jeffrey, the Former U.S. ambassador to Ankara, supported Turkiye's acquisition of F-35s, underlining that CAATSA is fading away.James Jeffrey, Former U.S. ambassador to Ankara, has answered TRT’s questions on bilateral relations following Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan and Head of National Intelligence Ibrahim Kalın’s visit to Washington DC for the seventh strategic mechanism meetings between Turkiye and the United States. When asked about the visit, the former Ambassador said he witnessed high points between Turkiye and the U.S. on many occasions and said, “This is another High Point. Not just because of the cooperation on many issues from Ukraine to Gaza to the Black Sea to NATO. But also in the willingness of both sides to cooperate and to talk. These high-level meetings that are covering all of the issues, trade, information sharing, diplomatic and military are a good example of the sort of progress we are making and can continue to make.” 

Answering a question about Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Senator Ben Cardin’s words, “I look forward to beginning this new chapter in our relationship with Turkey”, Ambassador Jeffrey underlined the importance of the “new chapter” term by saying, “It’s a very important step because much of the problem in Turkish American relations did not rest with the administration be it the Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton or Biden administrations but rather with Congress. The American Congress is an independent actor, and for many reasons, many of them I cannot justify, took a very negative position over decades with Turkiye. I’ve seen this for years, either in Washington or during my four tours in Turkiye, and the Turkish government puts tremendous effort into its Embassy here in relations with Congress. But the Congress has not always reciprocated. This is unacceptable and was the fault of personalities here in Washington. What Senator Coden is saying is that it’s behind us. Let us cooperate from administration to administration, from Congress to parliament, and people to people.” S-400 and CAATSA Fade away The S-400 and CAATSA are presented as two issues that poison the bilateral relationship. 

When asked about the future of defence relations, Ambassador Jeffrey says, “CATSAA sanctions are obsolete in any case. It was a vote of 99 of the 100 Senators to criticise President Trump for too warm relations with Vladimir Putin. But the law that they passed has caught up with Turkiye on the S-400 deal. There is no strategic significance to Turkiye purchasing the S-400. There is no flow of Russian arms into Turkiye. There is no problem. There’s a technical problem if the S-400 were turned on.” … “My belief is we should move forward if Turkiye wants to purchase F-35s. That’s good for the alliance, it’s good for Turkiye, it’s good for the United States. We can find a way to work on this S-400 issue. Now, that’s James Jeffry’s view. I can’t say that’s the U.S. view. But I noticed that Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland was quite optimistic, to everybody’s surprise, when she was in Turkiye and talking about a possible F-35 option. “ When asked about the Turkish fifth-generation fighter jet KAAN and Turkish UAVs, Ambassador Jeffrey claimed that the U.S. makes the best aircraft in the world. He underlined that many countries with aircraft manufacturing and battlefield experience asked for American aircraft. He emphasised Turkiye’s decision to acquire F-16s from the U.S.