It is premature to talk about Turkey’s purchase of Russian fighter jets as Ankara still expects to receive American F-35 aircraft, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar stated.
"We must wait and see how things develop. Turkey is an independent state and it will do what it sees fit. If the US refuses to fulfil its obligations on the supply of F-35s, we can find other suppliers. Many planes are manufactured in the world, and finding an option is not a problem. But we want to cooperate with the United States because it is our partner", Akar said on the television channel NTV.
He added that Ankara has explained the situation to its American partners many times, and US President Donald Trump admits that it is the right thing.
Last month, Turkey started testing S-400 radars against American-made F-16 fighter jets. The S-400 systems have been supplied by Russia since mid-July and are expected to become fully operational by April 2020. The US believes that the S-400 is incompatible with NATO security standards and is pressuring Ankara into removing it from service. It suspended Turkey's participation in the F-35 programme in July and threatened to completely remove the country from the fifth-generation stealth fighter project.