Turkey is determined to get back $1.4B as talks on F-35 fighter jets continue with the US, President Erdogan says, adding that the issue of Ankara’s rights will be raised with President Biden in Rome.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he has faith that Turkey and the United States will make progress in talks for the sale of F-16 fighter jets and that Ankara will recoup $1.4 billion it paid for F-35s it is blocked from buying.
"Turkey determined to get back $1.4B as talks on US F-35 fighter jets continue," Erdogan told journalists on a return flight from Nigeria on Wednesday in comments embargoed until Thursday.
"Turkey will claim its rights on F-35 fighter jets in talks with US President Biden at the meeting in Rome. I believe we will make progress," he added.
The US removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter programme in 2019 over Ankara's purchase of Russia's S-400 anti-aircraft weapon system.
The US said Ankara's purchase posed a risk to the security of the F-35s, including the possibility that Russia could covertly use the system to obtain classified details on the jet.
Turkey has maintained it only turned to the Russian system after it failed to reach terms during protracted negotiations with the US over the acquisition of Raytheon's Patriot surface-to-air missile systems.
Ankara maintains the S-400 poses no risk to the F-35.
Ankara had ordered more than 100 F-35 jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp.
Erdogan said on Sunday that Washington had made prosed F-16 fighter jets in return for Turkey's payment of $1.4 billion that it made for the F-35 joint fighter programme.