Responding to Shaheen Questioning, Gen Scaparrotti Unequivocally Recommends Preventing F-35 Transfer to Turkey
**Shaheen has led bipartisan efforts in the Senate to prevent the sale of the aircraft to the Turkish government due to the government’s plans to acquire a Russian missile system**
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(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) questioned General Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander for United States European Command/North Atlantic Treaty Organization Supreme Allied Commander Europe, about the Republic of Turkey’s plans to acquire the Russian S-400 air defense system during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today. In response, General Scaparrotti firmly advised against the United States providing Turkey with the F-35 joint strike fighter aircraft if the S-400 transfer from Russia to Turkey takes place. Following the hearing, Sen. Shaheen issued this statement:
“I welcome General Scaparrotti’s honest and direct assessment, and I hope his concerns are heard throughout the administration,” said Shaheen. “The transfer of the S-400 to Turkey provides Russia a potential foothold in a NATO country. This transfer would pose a significant security risk to all NATO countries and equipment, particularly to F-35 aircraft, which as the General noted is our ‘most advanced’ capability. As a nation we have invested substantial resources in the F-35 and we should make every effort to protect this valuable asset. As a NATO ally and regional partner, the United States should move forward with the transfer of the F-35 to Turkey, but only after Turkey cancels its plans to acquire the S-400.”
Senator Shaheen has led bipartisan efforts in the Senate to prevent the sale of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Turkey. Senator Shaheen’s bipartisan amendment with Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) was signed into law that prevents the transfer of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Turkey until the F-35 program in Turkey is re-evaluated. Senators Shaheen and Tillis put forward this proposal believing it is inappropriate and dangerous to send Turkey F-35 aircraft at this time, while the Turkish government continues plans to acquire the Russian-made S-400 missile system. Senator Shaheen introduced standalone legislation last year with Senator Lankford (R-OK) to prevent this transfer.