Turkey Considering Buying Russian Su-35s, Su-57s If US Fails to 'Resolve the F-35 Issue'
12:10 GMT 28.10.2021 (Updated: 11:59 GMT 26.10.2022)
The row between Washington and Ankara started in 2019, when the Turkish government purchased Russian-made S-400 missile defence systems. In response, the US cancelled the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey over claims that it could leak military secrets to Russia.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has made it clear that Ankara may buy advanced Russian fighter jets if the US fails to deliver the F-35 fighter jets
that Turkey paid for or return the $1.4 billion sum.
"If the US does not want to resolve the issue about the F-35s, or if the US Congress blocks it, Turkey will consider other options including purchasing [Russian-made] Su-35 or Su-57 [fighters]", Cavusoglu was cited by the newspaper Hurriyet as saying in an interview with CNN Turk on Thursday.
He spoke after Turkish Presidency of Defence Industries chief Ismail Demir said in mid-October that Ankara may purchase Russian Su-35 and Su-57 warplanes if the US freezes the sale of F-16 fighter jets that were earlier promised by Washington.
The statement followed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying that Washington had invited Ankara to buy the F-16 fighter jets as a return for its investment in the F-35 Lightning II Programme.
In the latest development, Erdogan voiced optimism regarding the outcome of talks between Turkey and the US on the sale of the Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighter jets.
He expressed hope that Ankara would be compensated for the $1.4 billion it paid to acquire the F-35 stealth fighters from Washington, saying "we will get this $1.4 billion of ours one way or another".
US-Turkey Row Over S-400s
Russia and Turkey inked a $2.5 billion contract for the delivery of four S-400 batteries
in late 2017, with deliveries beginning in 2019.
The S-400 deal irked Ankara's US and NATO allies, sparking a major diplomatic crisis and prompting Washington to cancel the sale of Lockheed Martin's fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, also prodding Washington to slap sanctions on Ankara's defence sector.
12 October 2021, 14:35 GMT
NATO insisted that the S-400s are incompatible with the alliance's standards, and suggested that the Russian side would purportedly be able to collect sensitive intelligence on the alliance's air defence network through the Turkish S-400 contract. Russian and Turkish officials have consistently dismissed the allegations.