Turkish defence industry will survive hit of F-35 exclusion and 'come back stronger'

Turkish defence industry will survive hit of F-35 exclusion and 'come back stronger'
Several Russian officials have indicated that Moscow could supply Ankara with its own Su-35 jets in place of the F-35s.
2 min read
18 July, 2019
Russian officials have said they could supply Turkey with their own Su-35 jets [TASS]

Turkey's defence industry may face temporary losses after Washington decided to remove the country from the F-35 fighter jet programme, but will ultimately emerge stronger than before, the head of the country's Defence Industry Directorate (SSB) said on Thursday.

The White House earlier confirmed that Turkey would be excluded from the NATO's stealth fighter jet programme after it went ahead with the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system despite repeated warnings from Western allies not to do so.

While Washington has also threatened sanctions over the decision in the past, US President Donald Trump has expressed sympathy with Ankara and it is as yet unclear whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish defence industry will have to grapple with a lasting financial hit over the controversy.

SSB chief Ismail Demir told reporters that while the Turkish defence industry may experience losses after the decision, firms will ultimately emerge stronger as a result, Reuters reported.

Demir added that other countries involved in the programme would face an extra $7-8 million cost per F-35 jet due to Turkey's removal.

Hinting at suggestions that Ankara may again turn to Moscow to satisfy a need for new military hardware, the defence industry chief claimed that Turkey would not purchase foreign equipment unless absolutely necessary.

A top Russian official on Thursday stated that Moscow was ready to supply Turkey with its own Su-35 fighter jets if the F-22 was no longer available, according to the Associated Press.

Sergei Chemezov, head of Russia's state-controlled Rostech corporation, said in a statement on Thursday that it would sell the jets to Turkey if Ankara "expresses interest".

Just a day earlier Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuriy Borisov said that there was a potential for Russia and Turkey to negotiate the delivery of Russian-made jets to Ankara, Sputnik Turkiye reported.