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New U.S. Defense Chief Renews Warning to Turkey on Russia S-400

  • Esper says F-35 sales will be cut off if Erdogan goes ahead
  • Acting defense secretary speaks en route to NATO meeting
Russian S-400 defense system
Russian S-400 defense systemPhotographer: Vasily Maximov/AFP via Getty Images

Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper reaffirmed the U.S. warning that it will stop providing F-35 fighter jets to Turkey if the NATO member goes through with its planned purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

“If Turkey procures the S-400, it will mean they will not receive the F-35,” Esper told reporters en route to Brussels for a North Atlantic Treaty Organization conference on Tuesday. “It’s that simple.”