Turkey had procured the S-400 missile defence systems from Russia after talks with the US on its American Patriot defence systems had broken down when the Obama administration refused to sell the Patriots to Turkey.

An F-35B fighter jet lands at Luke Air Force Base in Goodyear, Arizona on December 10, 2013.
An F-35B fighter jet lands at Luke Air Force Base in Goodyear, Arizona on December 10, 2013. (Ross D. Franklin / AP Archive)

Turkey has signed up with international law firm Arnold & Porter to help protect its legal rights in continuing with the US-run F-35 aircraft programme.

Turkey was suspended from the programme last year after it took possession of the Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile system, which the US fears could be used to gain sensitive information from F-35 technology.

Turkey, since 2002, had been an official partner of the F-35 programme after the country agreed to purchase 100 F-35 aircrafts from US firm Lockheed Martin.

READ MORE: Turkey ready to address F-35 issue with US

'Unilateral and illegal'

In an earlier statement, Turkey's Defence Industry chairman Ismail Demir considered Turkey's removal from the F-35 programme to be "unilateral and illegal" and said that Turkey will initiate every action to protects its legal right to be included in the programme.

After Turkey's removal from the programme, the fighter jets were not delivered and also not refunded. 

Turkey had procured the S-400 missile defence systems from Russia after talks with the US on its American Patriot defence systems had broken down when the Obama administration refused to sell the Patriots to Turkey.

READ MORE: Turkey open to US Patriot defence system in addition to Russian S-400

Source: AA