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US, Turkey continue talks to settle F-35 dispute

The first of six F-35As that Turkey officially received before being expelled from the programme in 2019. Washington and Ankara are now holding talks to settle outstanding legal issues. (Lockheed Martin)

The United States and Turkey held a second round of talks geared at settling outstanding issues related to Ankara's expulsion from the international Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced the continuation of talks on 23 January, saying that talks had taken place in Washington, DC, following an earlier round in Ankara. With this round having taken place on 18 January, a third is scheduled for Ankara in the second quarter of 2023.

Turkey was expelled from the F-35 programme in 2019, having refused US demands that it not acquire the Russian S-400 ground-based air-defence system for fears it may compromise the security of the ‘fifth-generation' stealth jet.

At the time of its exclusion, Turkey had accepted six of the 100 F-35As it intended to acquire. Although accepted, these aircraft remained in the US and were subsequently subsumed into the US Air Force (USAF).

The talks now taking place between the US and Turkish governments are aimed at settling compensation and other legal claims surrounding the USD1.4 billion that Ankara says it paid the Joint Program Office up to the point of its expulsion.

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