US and Turkey in talks about F-35 jets soon: Minister

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Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday that negotiations between the US and Turkey were “underway”. A meeting is to take place in the USA in the coming days.

Turkish and US officials will soon meet to discuss F-35 fighter jets, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday.

The jets produced in the USA were at the center of a dispute between Ankara and Washington when the USA removed Turkey from the F-35 jet program as a partner in 2019 because of the purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems.

“Negotiations with the United States over the F-35 are ongoing. A meeting will take place in the USA in the coming days to discuss the F-35 issue, and preparations are underway “, Anadolu agency quoted Akar as saying.

Akar added that Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made defense systems was a “necessity” as it could not find a NATO partner to purchase a similar system on reasonable terms.

According to the US, Turkey’s purchase of arms from Russia would contradict its position as a NATO member. Washington imposed sanctions on the Turkish arms industry for the purchase last year, marking a low point in relations.

Washington’s actions have been sharply criticized by Ankara. Erdogan said Washington will “pay the price”.

Turkey originally agreed to purchase the F-35 jets in 2002 and, five years later, signed an agreement to participate in their production, an agreement that is potentially worth billions of dollars to Turkish industry.

The agreement ended in 2017 when Ankara announced the purchase of a Russian S-400 battery.

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