Turkish president says the US proposed the sale of F-16 fighter jets in return for its funding within the F-35 programme.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the US proposed promoting F-16 fighter jets to Turkey in return for its funding within the F-35 programme, from which Ankara was eliminated after buying missile defence techniques from Russia.
Chatting with reporters on Sunday earlier than departing for a visit to Africa, Erdogan stated Turkey needs a return for its funding within the F-35 programme and that talks on the difficulty are ongoing.
“There may be the fee of $1.4bn we’ve made for the F-35s and the US had such a proposal in return for these funds,” Erdogan stated.
“And concerning this, we stated let’s take no matter steps are wanted to be taken to satisfy the defence wants of our nation,” he stated.
“We’re working to additional develop our fleet from the modernisation of the F-16s in our possession to new extra F-16 purchases,” the Turkish chief stated.
Ankara had ordered greater than 100 F-35 jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp, however the US eliminated Turkey from the programme in 2019 after it acquired Russian S-400 missile defence techniques.
The decades-old partnership between the NATO allies has gone via unprecedented tumult previously 5 years over disagreements on Syria coverage, Ankara’s nearer ties with Moscow, its naval ambitions within the jap Mediterranean, US costs towards a state-owned Turkish financial institution, and Turkey’s human rights document.
Ankara’s buy of the S-400s has additionally triggered US sanctions. In December 2020, Washington blacklisted Turkey’s Defence Trade Directorate, its chief, Ismail Demir, and three different staff.
Erdogan has indicated Ankara nonetheless intends to purchase a second batch of S-400s from Russia, a transfer that would deepen the rift with Washington.
The US has warned Turkey of additional dangers to bilateral ties if it purchased extra weapons from Russia.
Reuters information company reported earlier this month that Turkey made a request to the US to purchase 40 Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighter jets and practically 80 modernisation kits for its current warplanes.
The request for the jets may have a troublesome time getting approval from the US Congress, the place sentiment in direction of Turkey has soured deeply over latest years.
There may be bipartisan help within the US Congress to push the Biden administration to place additional strain on Ankara, primarily over its buy of Russian weapons and its human rights observe document.
Ankara has stated it hopes for higher ties below US President Joe Biden.