Turkey’s DefMin says F-35 problem will be overcome

Turkey expects that disagreements with the United States over the production of F-35 jets will be overcome, its defence minister said on Wednesday (23 October), adding that Ankara remained at the centre of NATO despite criticism from allies of its incursion into Syria.

Washington began removing Ankara from a joint F-35 production program after Turkey bought and took delivery in July of Russian S-400 missile defence systems.

The United States says the system is not compatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organization defences, and pose a threat to Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 stealth fighters.

Turkey, which also wanted to buy the jets, has since said it could look elsewhere.

“We hope that we will continue producing them. There are some issues right now, but I believe these issues will be overcome,” Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said in an interview on Wednesday.

“We are partners in the production of F-35s, and we have been investing in the project for years, around $1.5 billion… producing some of its parts in Turkey,” he added.