China / World

Turkey denies plans to buy Su-35

By Ren Qi in Moscow (China Daily) Updated: 2019-10-31 07:07

Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Tuesday denied reports that the country plans to buy Su-35 fighter jets from Russia.

Akar was quoted by Turkish news website Haberler as saying that the reports by local media that Turkish and Russian government officials are in an "advanced stage of negotiations" to finalize a potential deal on Russian-made Su-35 fighter aircraft is not true.

"We are partners with the United States on the F-35 project," Akar said.

Turkey's Daily Sabah newspaper reported on Oct 25 that Turkey and Russia were close to a deal on Turkey's purchase of 36 Russian Su-35 fighter jets.

Apart from that, the newspaper claimed, that the two countries were looking at possible production of certain components for the Russian planes in Turkey.

A United States-based website DefenseNews also reported on Tuesday that an anonymous senior Turkish procurement official said a deal between the two countries "does not appear to be too distant".

The Turkish official said that although the final numbers may change during the negotiating process, Turkey could buy two squadrons (a batch of 48) Su-35s.

However, the head of Russia's Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugayev, said on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not discuss the deliveries of Su-35 fighter jets to Turkey at their meeting in the southern resort city of Sochi earlier this month.

Shugayev said it was too early to speak about contract negotiations between Russia and Turkey. However, in his words, consultations were still underway.

The reports that Turkey could consider purchasing Russian fighter jets intensified after Erdogan visited Moscow on Aug 27. During that visit, Erdogan was shown the Su-35 fighter jets.

Erdogan said at that time that he did not rule out Turkey's possible purchase of Russian Su-35 and Su-57 jets instead of the US-made F-35.

Meanwhile, the White House said in mid-July: "Turkey's decision to purchase the Russian S-400 air defense system renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible."

According to the DefenseNews, if the Su-35 deal is signed, it will be Turkey's second major purchase of weapons systems from Russia.

Turkey has been at odds with the US over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system, which Washington says are not compatible with NATO defenses and pose a threat to Lockheed Martin's F-35 'stealth' fighter jets.

Russia's Tass news agency said that Turkey is the first NATO member state to purchase such as air-defense missile systems from Russia. The deliveries of the S-400 air defense system to Turkey began in July.

The US and NATO have been making attempts to prevent Turkey from purchasing Russia's S-400 missile system. And Washington has warned on many occasions that it may impose sanctions on Turkey, if Ankara pressed ahead with the S-400 deal.

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