Turkey has no plans to buy US-made Patriot missile systems and it is not looking to buy F-35s anymore and considers the matter to be ‘closed’ after Washington removed Ankara from the program.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomatic Forum on March 14, the president of Turkey’s Defense Industry Agency Ismail Demir said that the Patriot missile defense system had been “removed from the program”.
“At the moment, we have no need for the Patriot system. If we talk about the defense industry, we have to turn the page,” Demir said.
After years of fruitless negotiations with the US on the purchase of the Patriot system, Turkey – a NATO member, chose the Russian S-400 system. A $2.5 billion contract to buy four S-400 complexes was signed by Turkey with Russia in 2017.
The US voiced opposition to this sale, saying that the S-400 was not suitable for NATO systems, even threatening security. Washington then removed Ankara from the F-35 program, despite years of cooperation in the development of the aircraft. The US also imposed sanctions on a number of Turkish officials, including Mr. Demir.
According to Demir, Turkey and the US are unlikely to reach any agreement on the F-35 and the matter is “closed”. Instead, Ankara is focusing on developing its own aircraft and is “determined to modernize” the US-made F-16, after reportedly offering to buy 40 more F-16s. and 80 modernization kits for this aircraft by 2021.