No int’l arbitration possible for F-35 program disputes, retired Turkish ambassador says

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Ünal Çeviköz, former ambassador and incumbent parliament member.

Retired ambassador and deputy chairperson of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Ünal Çeviköz said on Thursday that Turkey cannot turn to international arbitration in the event of expulsion from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

“Article 17.1 of the agreement about the F-35 project stipulates that disputes among participants should be settled through exchange of views and may not be subject to arbitration before national or international courts,” he said on Twitter. “We should keep this in mind just in case.”

Çeviköz’s tweet included a link to a report about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent remarks that Turkey would seek international arbitration if the United States decides to expel Turkey from the F-35 program.

“We have already paid them $1.25 billion for the F-35 project. If they do make such a wrong move, we will take it to the international arbitration court because we will want them to pay us back the money we have spent so far,” Erdoğan said in an interview with the Japanese Nikkei newspaper.

Erdoğan is scheduled to meet with US President Donald Trump on Saturday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka.

“Actually, regarding the S-400s, Mr. Trump knows Turkey’s concerns, why we needed this system and how we came to this point very well,” Erdoğan told Nikkei.

Relations between the two countries have been strained due to Turkey’s planned purchase of a Russian-made S-400 missile defense system.

US and other NATO allies repeatedly expressed concerns over the S-400 move, particularly highlighting the risk that the Russians may learn about the new generation F-35s as Turkey is one of the prospective users of the stealth jet.

Turkey has so far refused to take a step back, repeatedly confirming the planned delivery of the Russian system in July, despite several comments from US officials that pointed to a number of possible sanctions including Turkey’s expulsion from the project.

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