Turkey Confident Biden Will Comply and Back Russian Weapons Buy

US Vice President Joe Biden (L) gestures next to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a meeting at Yildiz Mabeyn Palace on January 23, 2016 in Istanbul. / AFP / POOL / SEDAT SUNA (Photo credit should read SEDAT SUNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday he is looking to a compliant U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to right a “serious wrong” and allow Ankara to purchase F-35 fighter jets to work alongside its new Russian air defense systems despite Washington’s previous repeated objections.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump imposed long-threatened sanctions on Turkey’s defence industry over its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile air defence systems, in a move Turkey called a “grave mistake.”

Fellow NATO member Turkey was also excised from the F-35 program over the move, with the U.S. citing serious concerns over unauthorized sharing of military intelligence.

Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO’s broader defence systems.

Turkey rejects this, saying S-400s will not be integrated into NATO and purchasing them was a necessity as it was unable to procure air defence systems from any NATO ally on satisfactory terms.

The Russia deal comes as Turkey looks increasingly to involve itself in Middle East social, religious and military affairs.

“No country can determine the steps we will take toward the defence industry, that fully depends on the decisions we make,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding Ankara is now in talks to secure a second shipment of S-400s from Russia.

“We don’t know what the Biden administration will say at this stage (on the S-400s),” he added, according to Reuters. “Despite having paid a serious fee on the F-35s, the F-35s still have not been given to us. This is a serious wrong the United States did against us as a NATO ally,” he said.

“My hope is that, after we hold talks with Biden as he takes office, we will take much more positive steps and put these back on track.”

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