According to a contract filed by the US Department of Justice, Turkey hired a Washington-based firm in order to lobby for its readmission to the F-35 fighter jet program, following its suspension from it after Turkey’s acquisition of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system to the anger of Ankara’s allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Turkey is said to have agreed with the law firm Arnold & Porter for a duration of six months, in which the firm will provide strategic advice and outreach to the country for a total amount of $750,000. The contract was signed with SSTEK Defense Industry Technologies, an Ankara’s main defense industry authority owned by the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries.
Even though Turkey was removed by the US from the program and was imposed with sanctions last December, the program will continue to depend on Turkish contractors for some of the F-35’s key components, the Pentagon said. At a NATO-related event on 18 February, Fahrettin Altun, Turkey’s Minister of Communication, indicated that even a fee for the use of hangars was taken from the fighter program.
Turkey’s removal from the F-35 program dates back to 2019, when the Trump administration announced the suspension of the country based on its purchase of the S-400 Russian missile defense system, which would threaten the F-35s.