Turkey in ‘talks’ on buying Russian Su-57 jet fighters – Erdogan
Ankara is holding talks on purchasing Su-57 jets from Moscow, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. But Turkey’s foreign minister stressed his country is not giving up hopes on the US unfreezing the F-35 deal.
“Our ministries continue to have meetings with their counterparts [on this issue],” Erdogan told reporters on Friday, after being asked whether Turkey will purchase Su-57s.
The president’s words came a few days after he personally inspected the fifth-generation plane during an air show outside Moscow, where its export model was unveiled for the first time.
Turkey began eyeing Russian warplanes after its NATO ally, the US, refused to sell it F-35 jet fighters. Washington was trying to pressure Ankara into scrapping a contract to buy the Russian S-400 air defense missile system. Turkish officials refused to budge, insisting the country is free to get weapons from whoever it chooses.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu noted that Turkey prefers sticking to its original plan of getting the jets from the US, as well as remaining in the F-35 program. However, the country will explore other options, if that does not happen, he said.
Turkish officials have been saying that Washington should deliver the F-35s as promised. At the same time, they warned that Ankara will look for alternatives elsewhere, not only in Russia.
“If the United States maintains its current stance on the F-35s, we will take care of this,” Erdogan stressed.
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