The Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Mustafa Şentop, said earlier this week that Turkey may buy Su-35 and Su-57 fighter jets on favourable terms after the US kicked it off its F-35 stealth fighter jet programme.
During the MAKS-2019 International Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky outside Moscow last month, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan watched Russian Su-35, Su-57 and MiG-35 jets as part of the show. He then told the media that Su-35s or Su-57s could replace Lockheed's F-35s after their delivery was blocked by Washington following Turkey's decision to purchase Russia's S-400 air defence system.
A member of the Turkish Presidential Security and Foreign Policy Council, professor of law at Yeditepe University, professor of international relations at the Turkish Air Force Academy in Istanbul Mesut Hakki Casin commented on the further development of Turkey’s aviation technical cooperation with Russia and US in an interview with Sputnik:
“At present, Turkey is at the stage of making a very serious decision. One of the reasons for this is the fact that the United States refused to deliver F-35 jet fighters even though Turkey has paid money for them in full. This US position is known to be related to the purchase by Turkey of Russian S-400 systems. Meanwhile, this is contrary to international law because in one case we are talking about air defence systems, in the other – about a military aircraft. Moreover, Turkey is legally one of the manufacturers of F-35 aircraft,” he said.
“During his recent visit to Russia, President Erdogan paid special attention to the discussion of two important issues – the purchase of the Su-35 and the implementation of projects for the joint production of fifth-generation Su-57 aircraft. These issues are currently being studied by experts from the Turkish Armed Forces, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other competent authorities. In parallel, Turkey is defending its rights for the delivery of F-35s while continuing to negotiate with the United States on this issue. If the US continues to refuse to transfer jet fighters to Turkey, it will make a final decision on the purchase of the Su-35 and the joint production of the Su-57. Moreover, in this case, Turkey will probably never buy American aircraft again. Similarly, after Britain confiscated the Turkish battleships Sultan Osman and Reşadiye during the First World War, Turkey no longer purchased ships, aircraft or any military equipment from it,” Casin added.
Speaking of the success of Russian technology at the Teknofest 2019 Istanbul Aerospace and Technology Festival, the expert noted:
Turkish experts highly appreciated the manoeuvrability of the Su-35 and, on the whole, showed great interest in the Russian military and civil aircraft. President Erdogan is expected to attend the festival on Friday. In general, we can confidently say that the cooperation between Turkey and Russia in the economy, aviation and space has reached a qualitatively new level,” he concluded.
In turn, Turkish economist Şevket Apuhan, commenting on the possible agreements in the field of aviation between Turkey and Russia, noted to Sputnik that Russia “is the main country in cooperation with which Turkey can develop modern high technologies and establish national production of equipment.”
According to Apuhan, Turkey’s exclusion from the F-35 programme is “a great blessing for it since every dollar the US receives for selling military equipment is used to supply heavy weapons to the Kurdistan Workers Party (The PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation in Turkey – ed. note Sputnik). In this situation, Turkey, thinking that it provides its security, actually makes itself very vulnerable with its own hands. On this basis, ending the security costs that go into the US pocket is also an important strategic step. The statement by President Erdogan during a visit to Russia about the possibility of purchasing Russian military aircraft can be seen as a message to the United States and the entire world community. Cooperation with Russia will help strengthen Turkey’s position in this area and ensure independence from the United States, which supports Turkish-hostile groups along its southern border,” he concluded.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.