Erdoğan, Putin discuss warplanes, submarine cooperation
Turkey and Russia will advance their cooperation in the defense industry areas such as plane engines, fighter jets and submarines, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said following talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Sept. 29 in the Russian resort city of Sochi.
“We had the opportunity to discuss what steps we could take on plane motors and warplanes,” the president told a group of journalists on the return flight to Turkey, he noted.
Putin offered to build land and sea platforms to launch space rockets, Erdoğan reaffirmed Turkey’s commitment to the S-400, vowing Ankara “would not take a step back” from the purchase, but called on the U.S. to either give the F-35 fighter jets Turkey ordered or return its $1.4 billion payment.
“Our process regarding the S-400 continues. There is no question of taking a step back. Of course, in this useful meeting, we talked about them in detail and discussed how to take them further,” the president stated.
“What steps will we take in the construction of aircraft engines, about warplanes... What kind of steps we will take, we had the opportunity to talk about them in detail. Hopefully, we will take the same step on aircraft engines. Another issue is that we can take many steps together in shipbuilding. We will again take joint steps with Russia including submarines,” Erdoğan stated.
The president also said he proposed that Turkey and Russia could work together on building two more nuclear power plants, on which the Russian side agreed to cooperate.
“We have a goal of building three nuclear power plants. We asked, 'Can we build these two nuclear power plants together with you?” he stated.
Turkey’s first nuclear power plant is under construction by Russia’s Rosatom state nuclear energy firm on the country’s southern coast and is expected to be online for Turkey’s centenary in 2023.
'Time to find permanent solution in Syria'
Erdoğan and Putin held their first face-to-face talks in 18 months in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, with the Syrian conflict high on their agenda as regime troops and Moscow increased airstrikes in recent weeks.
Elaborating on the issue of Syria, Erdoğan said the two leaders are of the opinion that it is “time to go beyond the details and find a permanent, final and sustainable solution to this issue.”
“We focused on the necessity of the steps we will take together in this regard,” he said.
“There are some differences of opinion from time to time on regional issues, where many actors are on the field, and which have complex aspects. But in this bilateral meeting, we saw that there is unity on almost all issues,” he stated.
Agreements with Russia on eliminating the YPG group from the region must be fulfilled, the president added.
“Another issue that I particularly focused on was the PKK/YPG’s presence in Moscow. I reminded them of this,” the president stated.
Erdoğan noted that he would meet with U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Rome and then probably at the Glasgow Climate Change Conference.
“What will be the U.S. approach to Syria? We will have the opportunity to talk them out. We will consider all military, political, economic and commercial bilateral relations. For example, what about the F-35 problem? We paid $1.4 billion. What will it be? We need to see their fate.”
He is “seriously disturbed” by U.S. coordinator Brett McGurk’s “walking arm in arm with terrorists” in the region where Turkey fights them, Erdoğan said, referring to talks of the U.S. official with the YPG group.
Relations between Turkey and the U.S. are strained, and Erdoğan said last week that his personal ties with U.S. President Joe Biden had “not gotten off to a good start.”