After Turkey’s plan to procure F-35 stealth jets from USA failed to see the light of the day, Ankara could be turning towards Russia for Su-35 fighters, military officials have revealed.
The officials tasked with rearming the Turkish Air Force suggested the Defense Ministry to consider Russia’s Su-35 offer after its expulsion from the F-35 program. If the ministry green signals the plan, it will soon begin negotiations with Russia, according to a report published by Yeni Safak, a Turkish news outlet, on Saturday.
The expulsion followed soon after successful delivery of first batch of Russian S-400 air defense systems to Turkey this July, souring Turkey-US relationship.
In the same month, Moscow offered to sell its jets provided Turkey seems inclined with going ahead with the purchase. “Russia is prepared to sell Turkey Su-35 multi-role fighters if Turkey expresses interest,” Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov had said.
Ever since the $2.5 billion S-400 contract fructified, America tried to persuade Turkey to drop the deal and consider buying its Patriot air defense system instead. Washington has even threatened to impose CAATSA sanctions against Turkey, and had abruptly stopped training of Turkish F-35 pilots.
Meanwhile, Ankara is likely to receive the second batch of S-400s in this month or in September.