Turkey's President Erdogan says talks with Washington over its investment in the F-35 programme are still continuing.

US had removed Turkey from the F-35 programme in 2019.
US had removed Turkey from the F-35 programme in 2019. (AA)

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the United States had proposed the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara in return for its investment in the F-35 programme.

Speaking to reporters before departing for a trip to West Africa on Sunday, Erdogan said Turkey wants a return for its investment in the F-35 programme and that talks on the issue are ongoing.

"There is the payment of $1.4 billion we have made for the F-35s and the US had such a proposal in return for these payments," Erdogan said.

"And regarding this, we said let's take whatever steps are needed to be taken to meet the defence needs of our country," he said, adding that the new F-16 jets would help develop its fleet.

READ MORE: Turkey starts upgrading F-16s to gain a strategic edge

Ankara had ordered more than 100 F-35 jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp, but the US removed Turkey from the programme in 2019 after it acquired Russian S-400 missile defence systems.

The decades-old partnership between the NATO allies has gone through unprecedented tumult in the past five years over disagreements on Syria policy, Ankara's closer ties with Moscow and other issues.

Ankara's purchase of the S-400s has also prompted Washington to remove it from F-35 programme.

Ankara has said it hopes for better ties under US President Joe Biden.

READ MORE: Will the F-16 crisis be a setback for Turkey–US relations?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies