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The congressional fight over F-35s for Turkey isn’t over

Even as a US deal to sell 100 F-35s to Turkey moves forward with a rollout ceremony this week, lawmakers may deny the transfer of crucial technology needed to operate the jets.
A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018.    REUTERS/Axel Schmidt - RC1BB966C440

Turkey is taking possession of two F-35 aircraft this week, but US lawmakers may yet deny Ankara critical American technology needed to get the warplanes off the ground.

There appears to be little Congress can do to stop Turkey from obtaining the two jets, the first of more than 100, as Lockheed Martin prepares to hand them over to Turkish pilots at a ceremony in Texas on Thursday. But US lawmakers still have considerable leverage as they consider pending defense legislation that seeks to hold up the sale amid concerns about Turkey’s planned purchase of the S-400 missile-defense system from Russia and its imprisonment of a US pastor.

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