President Erdogan: Türkiye locked on F-16s rather than F-35s

    REGION  26 February 2024 - 20:58

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Türkiye is concentrated on F-16 fighter jets rather than F-35s, as the US sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara is considered final.

    Türkiye is focused on the F-16 warplanes rather than F-35s, the president said in a statement on February 26, according to Daily Sabah.

    "We are locked on the F-16s rather than the F-35s," Erdogan told reporters at the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) headquarters in the capital Ankara.

    "We discussed with US senators the steps we will take on the F-16s," he said, referring to a recent visit to Türkiye by senators Jeanne Shaheen and Chris Murphy.

    The president also said the Turkish government, including Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, is continuing talks with their US counterparts on the warplanes.

    The US Department of State approved the pending $23 billion sale of F-16 aircraft and modernisation kits to Türkiye after Ankara greenlighted Sweden’s NATO membership on January 27.

    Türkiye in October 2021 requested from the US 40 new F-16 Block 70 aircraft, as well as 79 modernisation kits to upgrade its remaining F-16s to Block 70 level.

    Türkiye was part of the F-35 programme before its participation was suspended over a dispute on Ankara buying S-500 Russian air defence after its efforts to buy US Patriot missiles were rebuffed.

    A senior US diplomat recently appeared to open the door to Türkiye perhaps joining the F-35 program if the dispute were resolved.

    Türkiye last week had a successful test flight of its own fifth-generation homegrown fighter jet, the KAAN.

    Caliber.Az

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