In a meeting with Erdoğan, Trump confirmed Turkey’s right to receive F-35 jets: Turkish FM
U.S. President Donald Trump, during a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the sidelines of the G20 summit, acknowledged Turkey’s right to continue participating in the F-35 fighter jet program, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on July 4.
“Trump himself said it in the meeting: He said, ‘How there could be such a thing?’ He said, ‘…this is unacceptable,’” Çavuşoğlu said, speaking to TRT broadcaster on July 4.
In the meeting, Trump said, “’We are working on this,’” according to Çavuşoğlu.
Trump openly expressed his intention, but “there is no need to be naive and optimistic in hopes that everything will happen just as Trump says,” the minister said.
“We are cautious,” Çavuşoğlu said, noting that Trump’s remarks and acknowledgment of the situation was crucial for resolving the disagreement.
The minister noted that the U.S. rhetoric on Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 defense systems has softened after Trump’s remarks at the press conference at the G20 summit in Osaka.
“The different voices have started to diminish,” he said.
“Trump’s statement seems to have had an impact on Congress as well. We want to solve the issue through diplomatic means,” he said, adding that the efforts for solving the S-400 crisis now continues in a calmer environment.
He added that the S-400 is “a defense system, not an attack system.” It’ll be used when there is an emergency. Why would the S-400 be activated as it just stands there, it costs a lot,” he stated.
Tensions between the United States and Turkey have escalated in recent months over the Russian S-400 purchase, which Washington said will jeopardize Turkey’s role in the F-35 fighter jet program and could trigger sanctions.
Meanwhile, Çavuşoğlu downplayed a menace by Greek Cyprus over Turkey’s drilling activities in the East Mediterranean, saying that they cannot take any steps against Turkey in this regard.
On the regime attacks in Idlib in northwestern Syria, Çavuşoğlu said Russia must persuade the Bashar al-Assad regime to stop attacks in the region that target civilians, hospitals, and schools.