U.S.,Turkey to hold talks on F-35 fighter jets - Turkish defence minister

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar on Saturday said that preparations were underway for the meeting in the near future between Turkish and U.S. officials to discuss F-35 fighter jets, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkey was removed as a partner from the F-35 fighter jet programme in 2019 over its purchase of Russian-made S-400 missile defence systems, which Washington maintains are incompatible with NATO weapons and pose a security risk. 

A partner in the F-35 programme that helped fund the development of the jet, Turkey planned to buy 100 F-35As. 

“Negotiations with the United States on the F-35 are ongoing. In the coming days, a meeting will be held in the United States to discuss the F-35 issue, preparations are underway,” Akar said, adding that Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defence systems was a “necessity’’ and not a choice.

Earlier this month, Akar said that Ankara would discuss the F-35 multirole fighter jet programme during a meeting in Washington in early 2022.

The country’s top defence official on Saturday said that an acceptable and logical solution could be found on the S-400 issues, noting that Ankara was rightful on the matter. 

"We expect that our U.S. allies made the correct decision as soon as possible,’’ Akar said.  

Turkey maintains the S-400s will not be integrated into NATO systems and purchasing them was a necessity as it was unable to procure air defence systems from any NATO ally on satisfactory terms.

Turkey’s state-owned Defence Industry Technologies (SSTEK) hired Washington-based law firm Arnold & Porter for lobbying efforts to get back into the F-35 stealth jet fighter programme, lobbying news website Foreign Lobby Report said last year.

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