Turkey may acquire Russian jets if unable to purchase F-16s from U.S. - top official

Ankara is prepared to consider purchasing Russian-made Su-35 and Su-57 fighter jets should it fail to reach agreement with United States on the delivery of  F-16 fighter jets,  the head of Turkey’s Defence Industries Presidency said on Monday.

İsmail Demir told Turkey’s NTV network on Monday that Turkey would "not be left without alternatives’’ if Washington failed to approve a deal on the F-16s following the situation over the F-35s. 

"The issue of Su-35 and Su-57 planes may surface again at any time," Demir said, referring to Ankara's previous interest in the aircrafts.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday said Turkey was in talks with Washington to purchase F-16 fighter jets following Washington’s decision to exclude Ankara from the programme of developing the F-35 fifth-generation fighter over Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defence missile systems.

Turkey has paid $1.4 billion for the development and production of fifth generation F-35 fighter jets over the years, but Ankara was ejected from the programme in 2019 following its purchase of the Russian S-400s.

The United States. the S-400 system is incompatible with NATO technology and a threat to the Euro-Atlantic alliance and has sanctioned Turkey over the purchases.

Last month, Turkey sent a letter of request on 40 F-16s and 80 modernisation kits after getting kicked out of the F-35 programme in 2019 due to its acquisition of the Russian systems, according to Reuters.

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