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Business News/ News / World/  Turkey Signals Preference to Retain Russian S-400s in F-35 Row
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Turkey Signals Preference to Retain Russian S-400s in F-35 Row

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Sunday signaled a preference to retain Russian air defenses which Washington wants Ankara to ditch if it wants to buy F-35s fighter jets.

Turkey Signals Preference to Retain Russian S-400s in F-35 RowPremium
Turkey Signals Preference to Retain Russian S-400s in F-35 Row

(Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Sunday signaled a preference to retain Russian air defenses which Washington wants Ankara to ditch if it wants to buy F-35s fighter jets.

Fidan’s remarks during an interview with AHaber television came just a week after US Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland paid a visit to Turkey and said the US may discuss Turkey’s return to the F-35 fighter jet “family" if the spat over Ankara’s acquisition of Russian S-400 missiles is resolved. Washington has sanctioned Turkey’s defense industry over its acquisition of the S-400s, arguing that it poses a risk to its fifth-generation F-35 warplanes. 

Turkey’s continued refusal to jettison the advanced Russian S-400s signals remaining strains in relations with the US even as Washington notified the Congress for the sale of F-16 warplanes to Ankara following its ratification of Sweden’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 

The US State Department also approved the sale of superior F-35 fighters to Turkey’s traditional rival Greece. While neighboring Greece and Turkey work to build friendly ties, they closely monitor each other’s military capabilities. And Turkey signaled readiness to acquire F-35s if the sale isn’t conditional. 

Read more: Why US-Turkey Relations Hinge on a Fighter Jet Deal: QuickTake

Turkey, which was building about 900 parts for the F-35, including parts for the center fuselage and cockpit display, is seeking compensation for its financial losses, Fidan said.  

“If we could get through this S-400 issue, which we would like to do, the US would be delighted to welcome Turkiye back into the F-35 family," Nuland told CNNTurk television on Jan. 29. It was unclear from her remarks whether the US would allow Turkey to rejoin the production of F-35s.

Turkey’s focus turned to buying F-16s to upgrade its aging fleet of American warplanes after the US ousted the country from the F-35 program. Ankara now expects no opposition from the US Congress to the sale of Lockheed Martin Corp. F-16 jets.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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Published: 05 Feb 2024, 02:27 AM IST
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