Turkey to seek for alternative if it fails to get F-35 jets: FM

Turkey will turn to alternative suppliers of warplanes if it fails to get F-35 fighter jets, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.

Turkey needs the F-35 jets and if the planes are not delivered, Turkey will have to search for alternatives although it does not prefer to do so, said the Turkish top diplomat at a joint press conference with his Estonian counterpart Urmas Reinsalu.

Right now, Turkey is still a partner of the F-35 program and some parts of the fighter jets are produced in Turkey, he added.

“Nowadays, the United States is stirring up trouble. But Turkey is still part of this 9-partner F-35 program,” Cavusoglu stressed.

The United States has decided to suspend Turkey from the F-35 program, after Ankara decided to proceed with its deal of S-400 missile defense systems with Russia.

Turkey is in “urgent need” of missile systems and it has to buy the S-400 defense systems, said the foreign minister.

Regarding the Turkey-Russia ties, he said the two countries enjoy good economic relations, and that both sides will try to overcome difficulties concerning Syria and the Syrian government through the Astana and Sochi processes.

The Astana peace process was jointly launched by Russia, Turkey and Iran in January 2017 to tackle the crisis in Syria.

Syria has been locked in a civil war since early 2011 that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced 10 million others, according to UN.