F-35 Lightning II. Photo: iStock
F-35 Lightning II. Photo: iStock

US President Donald Trump has pledged that he will take necessary steps to ensure the delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, the country’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday, despite threats from American lawmakers to block the deal.

Cavusoglu made the comments in a televised interview, according to Hurriet Daily News, amid reports that Washington is pressuring Ankara to renege on a deal to buy Russian S-400 missile systems in exchange for final delivery of the F-35s.

A top state department official said this week that the US has “legal authorities that would allow us to withhold transfer under certain circumstances, including national security concerns,” adding “we believe that we continue to have time and ability to assure that Turkey does not move forward on S-400 before having to take a decision on F-35.”

His comments were in reference to Turkey’s agreement to buy the Russian-made S-400 missile system.

Meanwhile, Cavusoglu struck a defiant tone in response to the Trump administration’s threats that any country that did not cut imports of Iranian oil would face sanctions.

“Turkey will not cut off trade ties with Iran at the behest of other countries,” he said.

“Iran is a good neighbor and we have economic ties. We are not going to cut off our trade ties with Iran because other countries told us so,” he stressed.

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