South Carolina Republican senator Lindsey Graham, who has been a stalwart supporter of President Donald Trump, says he wants to bring Turkey back into the F-35 stealth fighter program, where it will acquire the planes and manufacture some of their parts. Trump ejected Ankara from the program in July due to displeasure over its acquisition of Russian-made S-400 air-defense missiles instead of US-made Patriot systems. Graham met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday in New York after the latter’s arrival to help kick off the 74th session of the UN General Assembly this week. “We’re trying to get [the Turks] back in the F-35 program,” the senator was quoted as saying by Turkish media outlets. Lockheed Martin, the plane’s overall manufacturer, has an assembly line in Graham’s home state. Trump is said to also fear that F-35 technology could wind up in the hands of Russian technicians sent to Turkey ostensibly to help set up the S-400 missile batteries.
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