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U.S. Removing NATO Ally Turkey From Stealth Fighter Jet Program

A Russian military cargo plane carrying an S-400 missile-defense system is seen during its unloading at an air base in Ankara on July 12.

The United States has said that Turkey can no longer be part of the American F-35 stealth fighter jet program after its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile-defense system.

In a written statement, the White House said on July 17 that Ankara's decision to buy the Russian S-400 air- defense system "renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible."

The White House did not say explicitly that Turkey will be thrown out of the F-35 program, but the Pentagon did.

"The U.S. and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the program," said Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.

Turkey received the first three shipments of S-400 components on July 12 and a fourth shipment on July 13, defying threats of sanctions from the United States.

Turkey makes numerous components for the F-35, and the United States will have to find alternative suppliers.

President Donald Trump announced on July 16 that the S-400 purchase means Turkey will not be allowed to purchase any F-35 planes.

Yet to be announced is whether the Washington will slap economic sanctions on Turkey for its move.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa