Turkey begins procurement process for F-16 planes from US, defense minister says
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday that Ankara had initiated the process of purchasing F-16 fighter jets from the United States. According to SputnikAkar said “technical work” had started on the supply of F-16 aircraft, adding that the Defense Ministry was monitoring the process. “Strengthening Turkey also means strengthening NATO defense,” Turkish defense said.
Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the United States had offered to sell F-16 planes to his country as a return for its investment in the F-35 program, from which Ankara was withdrawn. It should be mentioned that Turkey broke with the United States after purchasing S-400 air defense systems from Russia. In response, Washington canceled the sale of F-35 planes to Turkey, saying Ankara could leak military secrets to Russia. The United States has even reportedly sent an official notification to Turkey regarding its exclusion from the production program of the last F-35 fighter jets.
Now the latest statement from the Turkish Defense Ministry comes after Erdogan said on October 20 that Ankara is determined to recover the funds the United States owes Ankara for the F-35 program scrapped in July. 2019. Turkey paid the US $ 1.4 billion in a deal to modernize its fleet with never-delivered F-35 jets as Washington blocked the contract to purchase the system Russian S-400 missile defense team from Turkey. “Turkey is working on reimbursement of the payment for the F-35,” Erdogan said.
However, in response to the Turkish minister, the United States clarified this week that it has not made any official funding offer to Ankara for the sale of F-16 fighter jets. “We refer you to the Turkish government to talk about their defense procurement plans. What I can say is that the United States has not made any funding offer on the F-16’s request. Turkey, “US State Department spokesman Ned Price told the White House. presser. In addition, Price stressed that such defense deals, such as the sale of F-16 fighter jets, must first be approved by the US State Department and Congress, adding that the US Department of Defense Defense has been in consultation with Turkey on the blocked order for F-35 fighters. planes, but financing options for the F-16 were not on the table.
“The Defense Ministry remains in consultation with Turkey on the F-35 program. Turkish authorities have publicly acknowledged their interest in purchasing F-16 aircraft. We refer you to the Turkish government to talk about their defense procurement plans, ”Price said.