THE United States has decided to stop accepting any additional Turkish pilots who planned to come to the United States to train on F-35 fighter jets, US officials say, in a clear sign of the escalating dispute over Ankara's plans to purchase Russia's S-400 air defence system.
The US says Turkey cannot have both, but has avoided taking steps that could be seen as an embarrassment in Turkey.
Two US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision so far only applied to upcoming rounds of Turkish pilots and maintenance crews and could be reversed. There has not yet been a formal decision to halt the training.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday it was out of the question for Turkey to take a step back from its deal with Moscow to buy Russian S-400 missile defence systems – reportedly due to be sited on Turkey's southern coast.
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