Posted on June 13, 2019
The US had said Turkey could not have both the S-400 anti-aircraft defence system and US F-35 fighter jets. But Mr Erdogan said Turkey would hold to account anyone who excluded Turkey from the F-35 programme.
Nato member Turkey has signed up to buying 100 F-35s and has invested heavily in the F-35 programme.
Turkish companies produce 937 of the plane’s parts.
Mr Erdogan said he hoped to resolve the situation with the US through phone diplomacy ahead of a meeting with President Trump at the end of June, Reuters reported. Turkey has been pursuing an increasingly independent defence policy and has been establishing closer links with Russia after a recent souring of its ties with the US and Europe. US acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan last week wrote to his Turkish counterpart that the US was “disappointed” to hear that Turkish personnel have been sent to Russia to train on the S-400. Another senior US official, Under Secretary of Defence Ellen Lord, told reporters that the US did not want Russian technicians to be able to access the F-35’s vulnerabilities. “We do not want to have the F-35 in close proximity to the S-400 over a period of time because of the ability to understand the profile of the F-35 on that particular piece of equipment,” she said.
US officials had wanted Turkey to buy its Patriot missile system instead.
Turkey has the second-largest army in Nato, a 29-member military alliance set up to defend against what was at the time the Soviet Union.