Turkey’s Foreign Minister Cavusoglu says Ankara will consider Russian options if US does not resolve issue over F-35 fighter jets.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey currently produces 75 percent of its military needs.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey currently produces 75 percent of its military needs. (AA)

Ankara says the US should either deliver the F-35 fighter jets that Turkey, a NATO ally, paid for or return the money or compensate with other products.

“If the US does not want to resolve the issue about F35s, or if the US Congress blocks it, Turkey will consider other options including purchasing (Russian-made) SU-35 or SU-57,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNN Turk in a televised interview on Thursday.

Cavusoglu stressed Turkey has never been helpless and currently produces 75 percent of its military needs and it can turn to other countries when there is a need. 

"We have alternatives. We continue on our way," Cavusoglu said in the event that talks with the US fail to sort out the F-35 issue. 

Turkey and the US agreed to continue talks to resolve the issue over the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

According to a statement, representatives of the Turkish and US defense ministries held a meeting in the capital Ankara, in which they also discussed financial issues.

In 2019, Washington announced that it was taking Turkey out of the F-35 program over Ankara’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system.

Turkey, however, stressed that the S-400s would not be integrated into NATO systems and pose no threat to the alliance or its armaments.

Ankara also repeatedly proposed setting up a commission to clarify the issue.

NATO has affirmed that member states have the sovereign right to make decisions regarding military purchases and clarified that Turkey, a key NATO ally, would not be ostracised for seeking solutions for its national defence.

READ MORE: US and Turkey conclude "productive" talks on F-35, more set to follow

Diplomatic spat

When asked about statements by 10 Western ambassadors regarding the Osman Kavala case, Cavusoglu said Turkey was working on declaring the ambassadors persona non grata before the countries announced they would adhere to the Vienna Convention. 

Cavusoglu said that they did not have the right to interfere in Turkey’s internal affairs and certainly they are not entitled to give directions to Turkish judiciary.

"No one can point a finger at Turkey, nor interfere in Turkey’s internal affairs, we will not trample the honour of our country," Cavusoglu added.

Last week, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassadors of the US, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany, and France for meddling in the Turkish judiciary.

Erdogan on Saturday ordered the foreign minister to declare these 10 ambassadors persona non grata over their statements on the ongoing case of Kavala.

Early on Monday, the 10 embassies in Turkey announced that they abide by Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which calls on the envoys not to interfere in the internal affairs of the states they serve in.

READ MORE: Erdogan: Western ambassadors took a step back, will be more careful

Source: TRTWorld and agencies