Erdogan says will discuss with Biden F-35 jets during COP26 summit in Glasgow
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will discuss his country’s participation in the F-35 jet program with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, which starts Sunday.
“During the meeting, the issue of F-35 fighter jets will top the agenda. We have a 1.4 billion payment regarding the F-35s. We need to discuss how the repayment plan will be,” state broadcaster TRT cited Erdogan as saying.
Erdogan had previously said he planned to meet with Biden during the upcoming G20 meeting in Rome.
The US removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter program in 2019 over its concerns because of Ankara’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.
Erdogan had said earlier this month that his country was in talks with the US to buy F-16 fighter jets instead of the F-35.
However, the US did not confirm that it offered Turkey the sale of F-16 fighter jets but said that it has not made Turkey a financing offer for the warplanes.
The Turkish president also stressed that Ankara is determined to recoup $1.4 billion paid to the US for F-35 fighter jets Washington blocked it from buying.
Erdogan’s comments on the F-35 jets come days after he backtracked his threat to expel US and nine other Western countries’ ambassadors over their calls for the “urgent release” of philanthropist Osman Kavala, who has been imprisoned for four years, charged with financing protests in 2013 and involvement in the failed coup in 2016.
The embassies later stated that they will comply with Article 41 of the Vienna Convention, which outlines diplomats’ duties to respect the laws of the host state and not to interfere in internal affairs.
Erdogan denied that he had taken a step back in the crisis: “I am on the offensive. There is no back-stepping in my book,” he said.
With The Associated Press