Erdogan: “Since you don’t sell us F-35 we will turn to other options”

If the U.S. refuses to sell F-35 fighter jets, then Turkey turns to other options, said Turkish president on Friday.

“You don’t sell [Turkey] F-35? Ok then, sorry but we take our measures and turn to other options,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Erdogan’s remarks came during a meeting with the provincial heads of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in the Ankara headquarters.

President Donald Trump reportedly told Republican senators during a closed-door White House meeting Tuesday that he is not in favor of implementing penalties on Turkey for its acquisition of the Russian S-400 anti-air missile system.

Trump has repeatedly voiced reluctance to penalize Turkey over its purchase of the S-400, doing so last week when announcing Ankara’s removal from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Turkey’s expulsion is slated to be completed by the end of March 2020.

The Trump administration has maintained that the S-400 could expose the advanced fighter to possible Russian subterfuge and is incompatible with NATO systems.

Turkey, however, counters that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.

Trump blames the Obama administration for the current row over its refusal to sign a deal with Turkey to sell it American defense firm Raytheon’s Patriot missile system.