A US Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II jet fighter is seen exhibited during the 2018 Berlin International Air Show (ILA) in Schoenefeld, Germany, 25 April 2018. (DPA photo)
ANKARA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Tuesday criticized a U.S. Senate decision to block delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey, describing it "unfortunate" and "regrettable."
"The decision is an unfortunate move," Yildirim said in Turkey's western province of Izmir, adding that "Turkey is not without alternatives. Such attempts are regrettable and goes against the spirit of strategic partnership."
The U.S. Senate on Monday approved a 716 billion U.S. dollar defense budget bill including an amendment prohibiting sales to Turkey of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin.
The amendment claimed that Turkey's purchasing of the S-400 air defense system from Russia increases tensions and risks to the NATO alliance.
It also demands the release of U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson held in Turkey who faces terror charges.
According to the amendment, U.S. President Donald Trump should certify that Turkey does not threaten NATO, purchase defense equipment from Russia or detain U.S. citizens.
The bill still needs to be passed by the U.S. House and is not expected to become law until later in the summer, reported Daily Sabah.
The first two F-35 jets are scheduled to deliver to Turkey by June 2, according to the F-35 project agreement.
Earlier, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey would turn to other markets if the United States does not allow it to buy F-35 jets.