Turkey’s National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Tuesday refuted media reports about Ankara’s plans to buy Russian Su-35 fighter jets.
"Reports that Turkey will buy Su-35 fighter jets are not true. We are partners on the F-35 project [US fifth-generation fighter jets]. We want our rights to be granted," the Haberler news portal quoted him as saying.
Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper reported on October 25 that Ankara and Moscow were close to a deal on Turkey’s purchase of 36 Russian Su-35 fighter jets. Apart from that, the newspaper claimed, that the sides were looking at possible production of certain components for the Russian planes in Turkey, TASS reports.
Meanwhile, director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev said on October 22 that it was too early to speak about contract negotiations on Russian Su-35 and Su-57 deliveries to Turkey. However, in his words, consultations were underway.
The topic of Turkey’s possible purchase of Russian fighter jets surfaced after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Moscow on August 27. He demonstrated interest in Sukhoi combat aircraft when together with Russian President Vladimir Putin they were visiting the MAKS-2019 aerospace show outside Moscow. He said he did not rule out that Turkey could buy Russian Su-35 and Su-57 jets instead of F-35. "Why not," he noted.
The White House said in mid-July that "Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible." Ankara planned to buy 100 such aircraft and manufactured some of equipment, avionics and hull elements under the F-35 program.