Turkey and the United States are about to renew negotiations regarding the Lockheed Martin F-35 fifth-generation fighter jets.
The talks are expected to start in late January or early February 2021, with a Turkish delegation traveling to Washington to discuss the issue.
The news was confirmed by Turkish Defense minister Hulusi Akar in an interview with Turkish daily newspaper, Milliyet.
“Regarding the F-35s, we said: ‘We have paid this much, how are we going to be compensated?’ They said they understood us. We agreed on a second meeting in the USA at the end of January, beginning of February. A delegation is going to the US in the coming days. Six F-35s made for Turkey stand in a hangar. We are discussing what will happen to them. So, the discussions on both the F-16 and the F-35 continue,” Akar said.
Turkey requested 40 new F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and 80 conversion kits to modernize its ageing F-16s of older standards soon after the F-35 deal fell through.
However, recently the F-16 deal also began to stall, gathering opposition among US senators wary of Turkey’s growing ties with Russia.
According to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey invested $1.4 billion into the F-35. Together with Denmark, Norway, Canada and Australia, Turkey was a Tier 3 partner on the Joint Strike Fighter program and involved in its development. In 2019, Turkey was excluded from the program after acquiring the Russian S-400 air defense system.
According to some reports, Turkey discussed the purchase of either the Sukhoi Su-35 or Su-57 jets from Russia, an order that has been vehemently denied by Turkey. In October 2021, Turkey and the US began negotiations for the sale of the F-16.