Turkey is prepared to look “elsewhere” if the U.S. doesn’t deliver the 100 F-35 fighter jets it ordered, the country’s foreign minister announced Tuesday.
Mevlut Cavusoglu also said in an interview with private NTV television that Turkey could consider acquiring more Russian-made S-400s or other systems to meet urgent needs if it can’t purchase U.S. Patriot systems from its NATO ally.
As Breitbart News reported, last week the U.S. suspended the delivery of F-35 warplane-related equipment to Turkey until Ankara abandons its scheduled purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system.
“We have . . . been clear that acquisition of the [Russian] S-400 is not compatible with the F-35,” Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, a Department of Defense (DOD) spokesman declared in a statement issued last Monday, according to the Washington Post. “We very much regret the current situation . . . but the DOD is taking prudent steps to protect the shared investments made in our critical technology.”
Congress officially ordered a delay in F-35-linked deliveries to Turkey last year.
Turkey’s latest moves to buy the Russian S-400 technology have heightened tensions with Washington. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence warned that Turkey was risking its NATO membership and its participation in the F-35 program.
Cavusoglu said: “If F-35s are not delivered, I would be placed in a position to buy the planes I need elsewhere.”
He added that a new U.S. offer to sell Patriots was “more rational” than a previous offer, but still didn’t meet Turkey’s expectations.
AP contributed to this report
Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: Follow @SunSimonKent or e-mail to: email@example.com