Purchase of Russian S-400s aerial defence system was an urgent need and Turkey had to buy them, foreign minister says.
Turkey's foreign minister said on Wednesday that Ankara needs warplanes and if it does not get F-35 fighter jets, the country will look for alternatives.
Mevlut Cavusoglu's comments came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended to an aviation show, MAKS-2019, in Moscow where he inspected Russian latest fifth generation SU-57 fighter jet.
"[Aerial defence systems] was an urgent need and we had to buy the S-400s from Russia," Cavusoglu said at a joint news conference with his Estonian counterpart Urmas Reinsalu in the capital Tallinn.
Cavusoglu also stressed that the US is "causing problems" regarding the F-35 jets but Turkey produces some parts of the fighters and is still part of this 9-partner the program.
"We want to buy F-35s and we paid $1,4 billion for them. We need fighter jets. If we can not buy F-35s we will seek new alternatives. This is not what we prefer," Cavusoglu said.
The United States stated that it suspended Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet programme after the delivery of the Russian S-400 missile system.
Tapping on the relations between Turkey and Russia, he said Russia's presence in the region is a reality.
''Turkey has good economic relations with Russia.''
Moreover, he said even if some difficulties were faced in Syria due to Assad regime’s aggression, Turkey and Russia are trying to overcome them through the Astana and Sochi processes.
"[Our] relations with Russia or any other country is not an alternative for our NATO membership...or our relations with the West," Cavusoglu said.
The Astana peace process, aimed at ending the Syrian conflict, was launched in January 2017 by Russia and Iran, allies of the regime, and Turkey. So far 13 rounds of talks have been conducted in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.