Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded that the United States deliver F-35 fighter jets to Turkey or reimburse the $ 1.4 billion payment made to them, the Associated Press reported.
The order came after Turkey’s recent withdrawal from a US-led international stealth fighter program, which ousted the country after signing an agreement with Russia to acquire advanced missile defense systems S-400.
Following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Erdogan told reporters on a return flight on Wednesday that there was no “turning back” to Turkey’s deal with Turkey. Russia. The Turkish president has said he may demand the jets when he meets President Joe Biden at the October Group of 20 meeting in Rome, AP reported.
Erdogan said he could also raise the subject of handing over the jets or refunding with U.S. leaders on the sidelines of an upcoming climate conference in November in Glasgow, Scotland.
“We made a payment of $ 1.4 billion. What will happen to it?” said Erdogan. âWe don’t have – and don’t earn – this money easily. Either they will give us our planes or they will give us the money.
For more Associated Press reporting, see below.
Asked about Turkey’s plans to purchase additional S-400 systems despite threats of further US sanctions, Erdogan replied, “The S-400 process continues. There is no turning back.” His comments were reported by the private Turkish news channel NTV and other media.
Turkey was kicked out of the F-35 program and its defense officials sanctioned after the country bought the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system two years ago. The United States strongly opposes NATO members using the Russian system, saying it poses a threat to the security of the F-35s.
Turkey maintains that the components of the S-400 could be used independently without being integrated into NATO systems and therefore pose no risk.
The United States also sanctioned Turkey for its purchase under a 2017 law aimed at pushing back Russian influence. It was the first time that the law, known as CAATSA, had been used to penalize a United States ally.
Erdogan’s talks with Putin at the Black Sea resort of Sochi focused on measures that would deepen defense cooperation between Turkey and Russia, including partnerships for aircraft engines , fighter jets and submarines, said the Turkish leader.
Russia could also be involved in building Turkey’s second and third nuclear power plants and a space launch platform, he said.
Erdogan traveled to Sochi to discuss the situation in Syria, where Turkey and Russia support parties opposed to the conflict. Russia is the Syrian government’s main ally, while Turkey supports groups that have fought to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Russian and Turkish troops, however, cooperated in Idlib province in northwestern Syria, the last bastion of rebel forces, and in the search for a political solution in the country.
Erdogan said he and Putin agreed to continue working together to restore calm to Idlib.