We can buy fighter jets from others if the US drags its feet, says the Turkish President
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a group of reporters on Friday that Turkey could purchase fighter jets from several countries including Russia in case the United States refuses to provide Turkey with a batch of new F-16s and the modernization kits for the F-16s that it already has in its inventory.
"I hope the US does not compel us to seek other means. What I mean is, the US is not the only country in the world who is selling fighter jets. The UK, France and Russia sell them as well. It's possible to provide them from one of these countries. And there are some countries, indeed, who send us encouraging signals."
Turkey had made a request to the US to buy 40 Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighter jets and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes last Autumn, after it was removed from the F-35 program over its purchase of Russian-S-400 missile defense systems.
Erdogan also criticized the US administration over its support for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Northern Syria.
"The US unfortunately continues to move in the wrong direction concerning the SDF (...) They have unfortunately delivered these terror groups thousands of trucks of vehicles, equipment, weapons, and they still do. And it's not only in Syria that they've been doing this, they've done the same thing in Iraq as well, and they still do. They support these groups not only through weapon and equipment deliveries, but also by providing them with serious training."
The SDF, who is considered a terror group by Ankara, is part of the US-led Global Coalition in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, and played a major role in the 2019 territorial defeat of ISIS.
Erdogan also claimed that the most comprehensive operations against ISIS globally have been carried out by Turkey with its National Intelligence Agency, Interior Ministry and Armed Forces.