Might Turkey Now be Seeking Stealth Fighters from Russia?
The Russian news agency RIA reports that Ankara could be turning to Moscow to buy stealth fighters believed comparable to the US-made F-35. According to the report, which cites a Russian official, Turkey has been looking at the Su-57 stealth jet, as well as the Su-35 attack fighter. “Much interest has been shown [in the jets],” the official, Dmitry Shugaev, was quoted as saying. “It’s early to talk of contract negotiations. There hasn’t been an application yet [and] consultations have to take place.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in Moscow this week for talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Syria, where both have troops. Erdogan was reported to have said he was also interested in further cooperation on weaponry, including warplanes, and viewed the Su-57 at an air show near the Russian capital. Turkey had been slated to begin receiving the F-35, but US President Donald Trump put the kibosh on the order. That decision is believed to have been based on Washington’s dissatisfaction that Ankara purchased the Russian-made S-400 air defense system over US-made Patriot missiles, and the fear that technicians sent with the S-400s could be given access to the US planes. The air defense missiles and associated hardware are already being delivered to Turkey.