President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday suggested Turkey could look to Russia for an alternative after the US excluded Ankara from its F-35 fighter jet program.
Following Turkey’s controversial purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system, Washington discontinued Turkey’s involvement in the F-35 program.
“If the US continues with the same attitude on the F-35 issue, we will take care of ourselves. Will it be the Su-35? The F-35? Or the Su-57?” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara, referring to Russia’s Sukhoi fighter jets.
He indicated that the Turkish government was still in the early stages of considering its options.
“Beyond putting the Su-35, F-35 or Su-57 on the table, we are exploring what measures we can take for our defense industry, for our defence,” Erdogan said.
He added that joint production and credit plans were conditions that would be sought.
Turkey has repeatedly said that Ankara wants to become a producer of military hardware and not just a buyer from countries such as the United States and Russia.
Erdogan’s comments came after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday on the margins of the MAKS international air show on the outskirts of Moscow, a showcase for Russia’s military and civilian aerospace industry.
Turkey had ordered over 100 F-35 jets and its defense industry had ploughed significant investment into the jet’s development.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier on Friday during a visit to Oslo that Turkey had already spent $1.4 billion on the F-35 program.
“In the worst case scenario, President Donald Trump told Erdogan in Osaka during the G20 (summit in June) that they will pay this money back to Turkey. But we hope that we will not get to that stage,” Cavusoglu said.
US Senators introduce bill to stop transfer of F-35 fighter jets to TurkeyUS Senators on Thursday introduced a bipartisan bill to prohibit the transfer of F ... World News
Russia, Turkey discuss supply of Russian stealth fighter jetRussia and Turkey are discussing the possibility of deliveries of Russian-made ... World News
Russia delivers another S-400 battery to TurkeyRussia delivered another battery of Russian S-400 missile defenses on Tuesday, ... World News
Lockheed to move F-35 jet parts sourcing to US from TurkeyLockheed Martin Corp said on Tuesday it was working to establish alternate supply ... World News