Ankara is ready to consider alternatives to US-made F-35 fighter jets if Washington refuses to hand them over to the republic, the head of Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate, Ismail Demir, said on Thursday.
“Turkey keeps studying the alternatives. When one door is closed, other doors become open. We can make our own door, too,” the Anadolu news agency quoted Demir as saying.
The official went on to say that Turkey’s advanced TF-X (Turkish Fighter – X) fifth-generation fighter het was unveiled during the Paris Air Show 2019 in Le Bourget in June.
Demir added that “as far as the fighter jet issue is concerned, Russia offers different options.”
The White House said in a statement on Wednesday that “Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible.” However, Washington pointed out that it will “continue to cooperate with Turkey extensively, mindful of constraints due to the presence of the S-400 system in Turkey.” The Turkish Foreign Ministry called on the United States on Thursday to reconsider this decision, which “may deal irreparable harm to bilateral relations.”.