US, Turkey to hold talks soon on F-35 jets: minister

US, Turkey to hold talks soon on F-35 jets: minister
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday that negotiations between the US and Turkey are 'ongoing', with a meeting set to take place in the US in the coming days.
2 min read
09 January, 2022
Washington removed Ankara as a partner in its F-35 jet programme in 2019 [Getty]

Turkish and US officials will soon meet to discuss F-35 fighter jets, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday.

The US-produced jets were at the centre of a spat between Ankara and Washington when in 2019 the US removed Turkey as a partner from the F-35 jet programme over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems.

“Negotiations with the United States on the F-35 are ongoing. In the coming days, a meeting will be held in the United States to discuss the F-35 issue, preparations are underway,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Akar as saying.

Akar added that Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made defence systems were a “necessity’’ as it could not find a NATO partner to purchase a similar system from on reasonable terms.

The US has held that Turkey’s purchase of the arms from Russia contradicted its position as a member of NATO. Washington imposed sanctions on Turkey’s defence industry last year over the purchase, marking a low point in relations.

Washington's actions drew sharp criticism from Ankara, with Erdogan saying that Washington would "pay the price".

Turkey initially agreed to buy the F-35 jets in 2002, and five years later reached a deal to participate in its production, an agreement worth potentially billions of dollars to Turkish industry.

The agreement came to an end in 2017 when Ankara announced it was buying a Russian S-400 battery.