Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government said on March 24 that the West should provide Ankara with F-35 aircraft and Patriot air defense systems without preconditions.
The statement comes as the US continues to pressure Turkey to impose sanctions on Russia after Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has repeatedly reiterated that Ankara has no intention of participating in international sanctions against Russia and is only ready to act as an intermediary in negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
Earlier, reports suggested that the US had discussed with Turkey about sending Ukraine S-400 air defense systems that Turkey bought from Russia.
However, some Turkish officials say that the idea of Ankara sending the S-400 to Kiev is unrealistic, although it opens the door to discussing many issues between Turkey and the West.
Relations between Turkey and the US have become strained in recent years, after Ankara signed a contract to buy the S-400 system from Russia in 2017. The US then refused to hand over the F-35 aircraft to Turkey, although Ankara has paid upfront to buy 5 fifth-generation aircraft. The US believes that the S-400 system is not suitable for NATO military assets and poses a threat to the bloc.
Turkey refused to cancel the S-400 deal with Russia, stressing that Ankara has the right to strengthen its defense capabilities in the way it deems necessary.
Regarding the issue of F-35 and Patriot, on March 14 Turkish Defense Industry Agency President Ismail Demir said Turkey no longer needs to buy Patriot and F-35 from the US. According to Demir, the matter “closed” after Washington removed Ankara from the multinational program in 2019.