Turkey wants to buy Russian Su-57. Pentagon says Turkey can rejoin F-35 program once it ditches Russian S-400

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Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan visited Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and opening of a big air show Maks-2019 on Tuesday, Yenisafak reported.

During his visit Erdogan even got to take a quick look inside the SU-57 cockpit, the newest fighter jet unveiled at the Russian show.

Turkey has been recently expelled from the US F-35 fighter jet program over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile system. However, it was reported that the US Air Force Chief of Staff Dave Goldfein has not ruled the operating F-35s from Turkey.

At the aviation show outside Moscow Erdogan reportedly said that Russian Su-57 and Su-35 cold become a replacement to the F-35s. “Why not?” he asked. “We didn’t come here for nothing.”

When showed the Su-57, Erdogan jokingly asked “So now, are we going to buy this one?” Putin responded: “You could.”  

 

Sergei Chemezov, Chief of Rostech, said earlier in August that Moscow “would be willing to sell its Su-35s to Turkey if Ankara expresses interest.” According to media reports, the two countries are now discussing a chance of deliveries of SU-57 and Su-35 to Turkey.

Mark Esper, US Defense Secretary said Wednesday that the US may allow Turkey back in the F-35 program if it abandons Russian missile system.

“They would have to, again, completely get rid of the S-400 program, completely out of the country and then out of whatever, and then we could consider that,” said Esper. “It’s either the F-35 or the S-400. It’s not both. It’s not park one in the garage and roll the other out. It’s one or the other.”

“Turkey has been a long-standing great partner and ally, and I would hope that they would move back in our direction, and really live up to what NATO agreed to many years ago. That was to begin divesting of Soviet-era Russian equipment, and they seem to be moving in a different direction,” he added.

Talks between Putin and Erdogan over Idlib crisis did not go as well as Turkish observers expected. The two presidents did not reach an immediate deal to stop the crisis. “We agree on principles [such as the protection of civilians and the Turkish posts] but there are problems when it comes to details,” said a Turkish source with knowledge of the matter.


Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website

Natalia Veselnitskaya
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