Trump: Not Fair to Turkey or US to Block F-35 Sales

Trump says the whole situation was Obama's fault

While he probably doesn’t have a mechanism to get around it, President Trump lamented the ban on F-35 sales to Turkey on Tuesday, saying it isn’t fair to the US, and isn’t fair to Turkey.

Turkey was all set to buy F-35 warplanes, a pricey US-made plane the Trump Administration is eager to sell, but then announced they were buying Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems instead of the US alternative. The US warned they couldn’t have the F-35 if they did that, but Turkey bought it anyhow.

Trump says losing the F-35 sales will cost the US jobs, so it’s like a punishment for the US. He also blamed President Obama, saying Obama failed to sell Turkey on the Patriot missiles as an alternative.

Trump’s annoyance at losing out on these sales, however, doesn’t seem to have an easy workaround. Defense Secretary-nominee Mark Esper confirmed in his hearing that Turkey cannot be allowed to have the F-35 and the S-400 at the same time.

And while Trump says Turkey “is very good with us, very good,” lawmakers are also saying that the sanctions against Turkey for buying the S-400 are non-optional, rejecting the idea advanced by Turkish President Erdogan that Trump could just give him a waiver.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.