On May 30, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu pointed out that Ankara would buy jets elsewhere if the US does not sell F-35 stealth multirole fighters to Turkey, according to Turkish broadcaster NTV.
“As regards the F-35 jets, I have no concerns, this contract is legally binding, it cannot be easily terminated. But if these jets are not supplied to Turkey, we will satisfy our needs somewhere else,” Cavusoglu said.
He added that there is no reason of the US refusal to supply F-35 stealth multirole fighters. Cavusoglu stressed that Ankara doesn’t want to “spoil relations with our US ally”, but “in case of problems, Turkey will not be left without an alternative”
“It may buy [aircraft] both from Russia and from a NATO country. There is an agreement on F-35s, and if one side withdraws from it, the necessary steps will be taken,” Cavusoglu emphasized.
In an interview to the A Haber broadcaster, Cavusoglu said that the Turkish may stand against the US troops at the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey amid Washington’s inimical policy towards Ankara:
“We try to improve our relations with the United States. To normalize them, the United States should take steps regarding [the Syrian city] Manbij, the extradition of [Islamic cleric Fethullah] Gulen… When it comes to these issues, our people say: ‘Close the Incirlik, Kurecik bases [for the US]’… We are waiting for the United States to abandon its wrong actions.”
Earlier, US Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson pointed out that Washington hopes to resolve some “operational problems” over Russia’s S-400 air defense system delivery to Turkey before supplying F-35 stealth multirole fighters, The Hill reported.
“We would not want to have that aircraft close to the S-400 and so those discussions are going on with Turkey,” Wilson stressed.
On May 27, YeniSafak media outlet reported that Turkey might buy Russian Su-57 fighter jets if the US refuses to sell its F-35 stealth multirole fighters.
On May 25, the US House of Representatives passed a bill on the National Defense Authorization Act, addressing Pentagon to submit a plan to Congress to remove Turkey from participation in the F-35 program.