Turkey needs warplane. If it does not get F-35 fighter jets, the country will seek for alternatives, but it does not prefer that, Turkey's foreign minister said on Wednesday.
The purchase of F-35 fighter jets is an urgent need for Turkey and it had to buy the S-400 missile defense system from Russia, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at a joint news conference with his Estonian counterpart Urmas Reinsalu in the capital Tallinn.
Nowadays, the U.S. is stirring up trouble. But Turkey is still part of this 9-partner F-35 program, Çavuşoğlu added.
Turkey produces some parts of the F-35 fighter jets and also is a partner of the F-35 program. It wants to buy F-35s, he said.
President Erdoğan, UK PM speak on phone
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke Wednesday to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over phone, according to Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate.Erdogan and Johnson discussed the developments especially in Syria's Idlib and Libya, as well as bilateral relations, the directorate said in a statement.Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib would remain in areas where they were already present, while Russia and Turkey would carry out joint patrols in the area to prevent a resumption of fighting.The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.
Erdoğan says Turkey could buy Russian Su-35 jets to replace F-35s
President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey's deal with the United States to set up a "safe zone" in northeast Syria was a correct step and that Ankara would not let Washington delay the plan, CNN Turk reported on Thursday.Ankara revealed last weekend that a joint operations centre for the proposed zone along Syria's northeastern border is now fully operational."The agreement which we have reached with the USA is a correct step towards establishing a safe zone and removing the YPG from the east of the Euphrates (river)," Erdogan told reporters on his way back from meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.Erdogan said Turkey would not accept delays in the plan, comparing it to an earlier deal with Washington to remove YPG terrorists from the northern Syrian city of Manbij, which Ankara accused Washington of delaying."We will never tolerate a delay like we saw in Manbij. The process must advance rapidly," Erdogan was quoted as saying by CNN Turk on Thursday.The safe zone was proposed last year by U.S. President Donald Trump, who had announced plans to withdraw U.S. special forces from northern Syria but later suspended the plan to ensure Washington’s "allies" would be protected.Erdogan said this week Turkish ground troops would enter the planned safe zone "very soon", having warned previously that Turkey would mount a cross-border offensive on its own to clear the YPG militia from its border if necessary."All the personnel, the armoured carriers, all are on the border. That is, we are in a position to do everything at any moment," Erdogan was quoted as saying.DEFENCE COOPERATION WITH RUSSIAOn Tuesday, a so-called official in a YPG-led alliance said that the YPG will pull forces and heavy weapons from a strip along Syria's border with Turkey under U.S.-Turkish deals.The YPG withdrew from the Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain border positions in recent days, proving it is serious about ongoing talks.U.S. support for the YPG has enraged Turkey, whichis the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian offshoot of the PKK. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.The two countries have also fallen out over Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems, prompting Washington to begin removing Turkey from its programme for manufacturing F-35 jets, which Turkey also planned to buy.Erdogan visited an aviation fair with Putin during his visit to Moscow. Asked whether Russia's Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter jet and Su-35 aircraft could be among alternatives to the F-35s, Erdogan said: "Why not? We didn't come here for nothing."The RIA news agency cited a Russian official as saying on Wednesday that the two countries are discussing the possibility of deliveries of the two aircraft to Turkey.
Erdoğan, Trump discuss latest developments in Syria
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke by phone early Thursday with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, according to Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate.Erdoğan and Trump discussed developments in Syria, particularly in Idlib province, as well as bilateral relations, the directorate said in a statement.It emphasized that both countries agreed on protecting civilians in Idlib and to continue to cooperate to avoid a new humanitarian crisis in the region.Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib would remain in areas where they were already present, while Russia and Turkey would carry out joint patrols in the area to prevent a resumption of fighting.The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the ceasefire, launching frequent attacks inside the zone.The two leaders also reiterated their resolve to increase the bilateral trade volume to $100 billion, the statement said. Erdoğan also said he was pleased with the steps taken at the recent G7 summit regarding Iran, the statement said.He also touched on the appointment of new U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David Michael Satterfield, who presented his letter of credentials on Wednesday.Trump nominated Satterfield as the country's ambassador to Turkey in February. The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination in late June.The last American ambassador to Ankara was John Bass, who served from 2014 to 2017.Bass left Turkey in October 2017 amid a visa crisis between Washington and Ankara. The post had since been vacant.Diplomatic relations between Turkey and the U.S. were established in 1927 after the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.
Touching on the relations between Turkey and Russia, he said Russia's presence in the region is a reality. ''Turkey has good economic relations with Russia.''
Moreover, he said even if some difficulties were faced in Syria due to Assad regime’s aggression, Turkey and Russia are trying to overcome them through the Astana and Sochi processes.
The Astana peace process, aimed at ending the Syrian conflict, was launched in January 2017 by Russia and Iran, allies of the regime, and Turkey. So far 13 rounds of talks have been conducted in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.
US defense chief hopes Turkey abandons S-400
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper voiced hope Wednesday that Turkey would abandon the S-400 anti-air system, saying Turkey could return to the F-35 program if it does so.Esper told reporters at the Pentagon during an exceedingly rare news briefing that short of completely doing away with the Russian S-400 system, Ankara would not be allowed to return to the F-35."I’ve been very clear in both my public comments and privately with my Turkish counterpart: it’s either the F-35 or the S-400. It’s not both. It’s not park one in the garage, and roll the other one out. It’s one or the other," Esper said."So we are where we are and it’s regrettable. As I’ve said, Turkey’s been a long-standing, a great partner and ally, and I would hope that they would move back in our direction and really live up to what NATO agreed to many years ago, and that was to begin divesting of Soviet-era Russian equipment," he added. "They seem to be moving in a different direction.”The Trump administration has already suspended Turkey from the F-35 system over Ankara's receipt of the S-400, but some hopes centered on a compromise wherein Turkey could keep the Russian anti-air system, but keep it turned off in order to return to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly voiced reluctance to penalize Turkey over its purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, doing so when announcing Ankara's removal from the program in July.The Trump administration has maintained that the S-400 system 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.Turkey received the second batch of the S-400 on Tuesday, and the delivery is slated to continue for one month, according to Turkey's defense ministry.Ankara received its first supply of S-400 missiles in July. The delivery of the first battery was completed on July 25.Sensing that its protracted efforts to purchase an air defense missile system from the ally U.S. was not heading towards success, Turkey in April 2017 signed a contract with Russia to acquire the S-400.Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, said Wednesday that if Ankara does not get F-35 fighter jets the country will look for alternatives. But Cavusoglu said that is not the preferred option.Regarding a safe zone in northern Syria the U.S. and Turkey agreed to establish, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said Washington is seeking to strike a balance between "continuity" in the anti-Daesh campaign and Turkey's "legitimate concerns.""We’ve also made agreements to immediately address some of the threats along the border between Turkey and Syria, removal of heavy weapons and those kind of things," he said.Dunford noted the establishment of a joint operations center in Ankara, wherein he said United State European Command, Central Command and the Turkish General Staff are continuing to coordinate efforts.He further said joint patrols in northern Syria are "being worked out" at the center, but did not have a date for when they may commence.
Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu due in Oslo for official visit
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is to start an official visit to Norway’s capital Oslo on Thursday at the invitation of his counterpart Ine Eriksen Soreide.In a written statement, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said all aspects of bilateral relations, as well as opportunities for further enhancing cooperation between Turkey and Norway, will be discussed during the two-day visit.Regional and international issues will also be discussed during his stay, the statement said.Çavuşoğlu is also to meet with Turkish citizens and businesspeople, it added.