Turkey has rejected a proposal by Washington to send S-400 missile system to Ukraine which Turkey bought from Russia.
Çavuşoğlu said the US had argued that the S-400 missile system purchased from Russia should exclude Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, and suggested that Turkey hand control of the system over to the US or another country, such as Ukraine, as it tries to fight off Russian forces.
Çavuşoğlu said these proposals were unacceptable because they were intended to encroach on Turkish sovereignty. “The US asked us to send the S-400 to Ukraine, and we said no.”
According to Anadolu, in 2017, when its protracted efforts to buy an air defence system from the US proved futile, Turkey signed a contract with Russia to acquire the state-of-art S-400 system.
US officials expressed opposition to its deployment, arguing that S-400s would be incompatible with NATO systems. But Turkey stated that the S-400s would not be integrated into NATO systems and would pose no threat to the Alliance or its armaments.
Asked about returning to the F-35 program, Çavuşoğlu said Ankara does not want to return to the programme but rather wants Washington to pay back the money that Turkey paid for fighter jets before it was removed from the program, while its jets were never delivered.
Ankara is now “producing its own national combat aircraft”, he explained, adding that Turkey also wants to improve ties with the US and that the necessary mechanisms have been established to that end.
But Turkey also wants to buy F-16 jets and upgrade kits from the US, he added, mentioning that the request is not progressing in Washington as fast as he believes it should.
Ankara requested F-16s and upgrade kits from the US in October 2021. The $6 billion deal was to include 40 jets and upgrade kits for 79 warplanes that the Turkish Air Force already has in its inventory.