By Busra Nur Bilgic
ANKARA (AA) - The acting U.S. defense secretary’s letter to Turkish defense chief was not in line with spirit of alliance and it was “improperly worded”, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
In a response letter written to Patrick Shanahan, Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar emphasized importance of mutual respect and friendship based on dialogue to find solutions to problems, a Defense Ministry’s statement said.
Earlier this month, Shanahan had sent a letter to Akar in which he said Washington will cut short a training program on F-35 fighter jets for Turkish pilots over "safety concerns".
“The letter reiterated the discomfort from the style and approach that was not in line with the spirit of alliance,” according to the statement.
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have simmered over Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems.
Washington claims the purchase will jeopardize Turkey's role in the F-35 fighter jet program and has threatened sanctions.
Turkey has said there is no conflict between the S-400 and the F-35 and has called for a working group to clarify the issue.
Akar and Shanahan agreed to meet each other at the next NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels, in a phone call after Shanahan’s letter.