Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that the United States had offered to sell F-16 fighter jets to his country as a return for its investment in the F-35 program.
“We are talking $1.4 billion spent on F-35s. As a return for this investment, the US approached us with this offer. We told them we will do everything to meet our country’s defense needs”, Erdogan told reporters.
The Turkish presidential spokesperson said this week that Ankara would look at adding more F-16s to its air fleet in place of more advanced F-35s after it was removed from the joint strike fighter program.
Turkey caused a rift with its NATO partner after it bought S-400 air defense systems from Russia. The United States cancelled the sale of F-35 jets to Turkey in 2019 over claims that it could leak military secrets to Russia. Turkey continues to make parts for F-35s.