Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Washington offered to supply Turkey with F-16 fighters in exchange for its earlier investments in the F-35 program, from which Ankara was expelled in the last few years.
“We made a payment of $ 1.4 billion for the F-35 aircraft. And the United States has an offer in exchange for this payment,” the media quoted Erdogan as saying.
Erdogan said the negotiations are currently underway with Washington.
Erdogan noted that Turkey is working on further developing its fleet “from modernizing existing F-16s to new additional purchases of F-16s.”
Earlier, the Turkish President said that, despite the payment of $ 1.4 billion, Ankara never received the American F-35 fighter-bombers.
Washington excluded Ankara from the F-35A production program in response to Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems.
The F-16 deal
A formal appeal is said to have been made last month as per the Turkish news outlets. The proposal involves the purchase of 40 F-16s fighter jets and some 80 modernisation kits for the existing aircraft.
Return the money
In January this year, Erdogan had demanded that the United States either complete the supply of the F-35 or return the money already paid under the contract. He had threatened that if the United States does not change its line of conduct concerning the F-35, Turkey will seek other sources to acquire fighters or produce them itself.