F-35 project is bound to COLLAPSE without Turkey - Erdogan



Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday at a defence industry fair that a multinational project on the development of the F-35 Lightning II would collapse without Turkey taking part in it.

Turkey responded it was the US refusal to sell it Patriots that led it to seek other sellers, adding that Russian Federation offered a better deal, including technology transfers.

The Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin earlier said his country is not just a buyer of U.S. F-35 fighter jets but also a technology partner in the production program.

Putin said delivering the S-400s to Turkey was a national priority. Therefore, we reached an agreement with Russian Federation on the S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems.

"Nowadays, we are being subject to a similar injustice - or rather an imposition - on the F-35s". Now [the allies] are trying to exclude us from the F-35 project. Let me be open: "An F-35 project from which Turkey is excluded is bound to collapse completely", Erdogan said, adding that Turkey was also rapidly working to develop its own air defense systems.

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Washington blocked the delivery of the jets to Ankara, saying that the planes will not be shipped unless the country scraps its contract to buy S-400 air defense missile systems from Russian Federation.

Speaking last month, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said: "Turkey's acquisition of the Russian S-400 air defence system will have grave consequences for the USA defence relationship with Turkey".

Ankara, for its part, has maintained that the S-400s were not connected to the security of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the USA or the F-35 in any way.

A few days later, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said the S-400 system would be rolled out in the Autumn, in defiance of the US.

"When we felt the need for missile defense systems, we turned to the allies, but did not receive the necessary response".

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