Ankara, Moscow to hold talks over Su-57 fighter jets
Turkey and Russia will commence talks on cooperation in the aviation industry in a bid to strengthen bilateral talks, including the Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter jets, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s one-day visit to Moscow, according to a senior Russian official.
“We will continue to talk about topics on the agenda and of course address the S-400s. We will talk about how we can go through a more advanced phase on the Su-35 and the possible procurement of Su-57,” Dmitry Shugayev, the head of the Russian Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, told reporters on the sidelines of the MAKS-2019.
Turkey has been showing interest in Russian fighter jets as the former was removed from the U.S. F-35 program, according to Shugayev.
Erdoğan on Aug. 27 paid a one-day visit to Moscow to attend MAKS-2019, the annual Russian aviation and space fair. The president also held a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss bilateral relations as well as recent occurrences in Idlib, including the attacks of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
During the aviation fair, Putin introduced the latest developments in Russian aviation and space industry, including the Su-57 and Su-35 fighter jets, Ka-52 military helicopter, Mi-38 heavy helicopter and Ka-62 medium helicopter.
Putin conveyed that Erdoğan was the first foreign leader to see Russia’s “most perfect aircraft.”
After the leaders examined the engines, they held a closed-door meeting for over an hour which was followed by a joint news conference.
Turkey interested in joint production
The most important element of the steps Turkey takes with Russia is joint production and Turkey wants to extend this solidarity to the defense industry as well, Erdoğan said at the press conference.
“One of the most important characteristics of the steps we take with Russia is joint production. We have seen this in the S-400s. The training of our personnel is ongoing. We want to continue this solidarity in many areas of the defense industry, whether it is passenger or fighter jets,” Erdoğan said.
“The spirit of solidarity is key here. But our economic solidarity is extremely important,” he said.
“With that, in our meetings today, we had the opportunity to discuss what steps we could take in various fields within the defense industry and what we could do,” he added.
The president added that the volume of trade between Russia and Turkey has hit $25 billion but the objective is to reach $100 billion.
“Also, the arrival of Russian tourists in Turkey has meant a lot regarding the unity of our people,” he said.
Putin, for his side, said he and Erdoğan discussed cooperation and joint works on the Su-35 and Su-57 jets.
“We talked about cooperation on the Su-35 and the possible joint work on the new Su-57. We have a lot of opportunities,” he said.
“[Erdoğan] wants to initiate a new program on air ambulances. Russia, too, has similar plans on its agenda. All our partners are interested in joint production. We are ready for this and will efficiently discuss it,” he added.
‘Regime attacks in Idlib not acceptable’
Idlib has been facing a humanitarian crisis since the Assad regime commenced its attacks in May, Erdoğan said.
“It is unacceptable that the regime spreads death both from land and air under the pretext of fighting terrorism,” he said.
He said Turkey can fulfill its responsibility within the Sochi deal “if the regime ends attacks” there.
“Our aim is to stop the bloodshed and to get our neighbor Syria a peaceful environment for which it has been longing for eight years,” he added.
Turkey has to protect its borders because “harassment” from the Syrian side continues, the president stressed.
Putin, for his part, said Russia understands Turkey’s concerns over the security situation of its border with Syria.
“It [Turkey] needs to ensure its border security. This is Turkey’s legitimate right,” he added.
Putin also said that the situation in Idlib raises a “serious” concern, adding that Russia and Turkey have a common understanding on how to solve the problem as both countries support Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Together with Turkey’s president we have outlined additional joint steps to neutralize the terrorists’ nests in Idlib and normalize the situation there and in the whole of Syria as a result,” Putin said.