Turkey Begins Procedure to Acquire F-16 Fighter Jets From US, Defence Minister Says
ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkey has launched the procedure to purchase F-16 fighter jets from the United States, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday.
"Technical work began on the supply of F-16 [aircraft]. We monitor this process. The strengthening of Turkey also means strengthening the defence of NATO," Akar said, as quoted by the Ministry of National Defence.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier in October that Washington had offered to sell F-16 aircraft to his country as a return for its investment in the F-35 program, from which Ankara was removed.
Turkey caused a rift with its NATO ally after it bought Russia's S-400 air defence systems. The United States cancelled the sale of F-35 jets to Turkey in 2019 over claims that it could leak military secrets to Russia.
In April, Washington reportedly sent an official notification to Turkey about its exclusion from the production program of the latest F-35 fighter jets. Turkey, however, continues to make parts for F-35s.