Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara is determined to recoup $1.4 billion paid to the US for F-35 fighter jets Washington blocked it from buying, state broadcaster TRT reported on Thursday.
“Turkey determined to get back $1.4 billion as talks on US F-35 fighter jets continue. Turkey will claim its rights on F-35 fighter jets in talks with US President Biden at the meeting in Rome. I believe we will make progress,” Erdogan said.
“We will get this $1.4 billion of ours one way or another,” he added.
The US removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter program in 2019 over its concerns because of Ankara’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.
Erdogan had said on Sunday that his country was in talks with the US to buy F-16 fighter jets instead of the F-35.
“We have said we’ll take whatever step is needed to meet our country’s defense needs,” he added.
However, the US did not confirm that it offered Turkey the sale of F-16 fighter jets but said that it has not made Turkey a financing offer for the warplanes.
“We would refer you to the Turkish government to speak to its defense procurement plans. What I can say is the US has not made any financing offers on Turkey’s F-16 request,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday.