Erdogan to ask US not to exclude Turkey from F-35 fighter deal
Istanbul, June 12, 2019 (AFP) - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday
said he hoped to persuade the United States not to exclude Turkey from taking
part in the F-35 fighter jet programme, ahead of his meeting with President
Donald Trump later this month.
Erdogan, who is to meet Trump on the margins of G20 summit in Japan on June
28-29, said in a televised speech that before the gathering he "would like to
discuss this issue by telephone and reverse it from the current situation back
to where we started".
Washington has given Turkey until the end of July to abandon its purchase
of a major Russian missile defence system, which it considers incompatible
with Ankara's participation in the US's construction of its F-35 stealth
The Pentagon announced on Friday that if by July 31 Turkey did not give up
on the S-400 system, Ankara would be blocked from purchasing F-35 fighter jets
and Turkish pilots currently training in the US would be expelled.
Erdogan vowed to seek answers on Turkey's "exclusion from F-35 project for
reasons that have no rational or legitimate basis", adding that Turkey was not
only a customer but also a programme partner of the F-35 project.
"We have so far paid $1.250 million," he said.
Turkey plans to buy 100 F-35s.