Turkish President Recep TayyipTayyip Erdogan plans to modernize air force following the disagreement with Washington that stopped the acquisition of US fighters. He asserts that Ankara will review its options including Russian fighter jets.
“If the U.S. continues with the same stance on the F-35 issue, we will take care of ourselves,” Erdogan commented on Washington’s intention on Turkey’s withdrawal from producing and buying the most powerful US aircrafts.
The U.S. has excluded the country from the F-35 program when Ankara accepted Russia’s S-400 air-defense system in July. Washington states that the S-400 could erode the F-35 that is not suitable for NATO. Turkey has got a second S-400 battery recently.
“We are exploring what measures we can take for our defense industry, for our defense,” he said, noting that there would be discussions loans and participation in the production of military equipment.
Russian media cited the Turkish President’s claims on the acquisition of Russian fighter jets and the outlook of cooperation with combat and reconnaissance drones.
“We have taken certain mutual steps in this area,” Erdogan said.
Turkey took part in the US F-35 production and invested $1.4 billion in the program prior to the U.S. rejecting the order of more than 100 jets.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website