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Turkey to Turn Elsewhere If US Will Not Sell F-35s - Erdogan
By Staff, Agencies
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey would turn elsewhere for fighter jets if the United States will not sell it the F-35 jets, adding that a US decision to cut Ankara from the program would not deter it from meeting its needs.
The United States said last week it was removing NATO ally Turkey from the F-35 program, as long threatened, after Ankara purchased and received delivery of Russian S-400 missile system that Washington sees as a threat.
Washington has also threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey, though Ankara has dismissed the warnings. It has instead put its trust in sympathetic comments from US President Donald Trump, who said that Turkey was treated “unfairly”. However, Trump has not ruled out sanctions on Turkey.
Erdogan, speaking publicly about the strained US ties for the first time in 11 days, said he hoped US officials would be “reasonable” on the question of sanctions, adding that Turkey may also reconsider its purchase of advanced Boeing aircraft from the United States.
“Are you not giving us the F-35s? Okay, then excuse us but we will once again have to take measures on that matter as well and we will turn elsewhere,” Erdogan told members of his ruling AK Party.
“Even if we’re not getting F-35s, we are buying 100 advanced Boeing aircrafts, the agreement is signed... At the moment, one of the Boeing planes has arrived and we are making the payments, we are good customers,” he said. “But, if things continue like this, we will have to reconsider this.”
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