Erdoğan: Türkiye focused on F-16s rather than F-35s - M5 Dergi
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Erdoğan: Türkiye focused on F-16s rather than F-35s

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Türkiye is concentrated on F-16 fighter jets rather than F-35s, as the U.S. sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara is considered final.

Türkiye is focused on the F-16 warplanes rather than F-35s, the president said in a statement on Monday.

“We are locked on the F-16s rather than the F-35s,” Erdoğan told reporters at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) headquarters in the capital Ankara.

“We discussed with U.S. senators the steps we will take on the F-16s,” he said, referring to a recent visit to Türkiye by senators Jeanne Shaheen and Chris Murphy.

The president also said the Turkish government, including Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, is continuing talks with their U.S. counterparts on the warplanes.

On Jan. 27, the US State Department approved the pending $23 billion sale of F-16 aircraft and modernization kits to Türkiye after Ankara greenlighted Sweden’s NATO membership.

Türkiye in October 2021 requested from the U.S. 40 new F-16 Block 70 aircraft, as well as 79 modernization kits to upgrade its remaining F-16s to Block 70 level.

Türkiye was part of the F-35 program before its participation was suspended over a dispute on Ankara buying S-500 Russian air defense after its efforts to buy U.S. Patriot missiles were rebuffed.

A senior U.S. diplomat recently appeared to open the door to Türkiye perhaps joining the F-35 program if the dispute were resolved.

Türkiye last week had a successful test flight of its own fifth-generation homegrown fighter jet, the KAAN.

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