Turkey not necessarily seeking return to F-35 project, but to ask for compensation
Turkey will take its rift with the United States. over the F-35s, which have not been delivered to Turkish Armed Forces, to international courts, Defense Industries Directorate (SSB) President İsmail Demir told the NTV broadcaster on March 3.
He emphasized that Turkey was no longer seeking to return to the F-35 international project from which it was removed over its purchase of Russian defense systems.
On being asked that the SSB has enlisted a leading U.S. law firm to get strategic advice on protecting its rights in the F-35 fighter jet program, Demir said that the primary goal of Turkey was to get compensated for its losses.
There is a “clear loss of rights,” and Turkey’s six-month contract with U.S. law firm Arnold Porter is aimed to identify future steps to reverse these losses, he said.
“We are not in a mood like ‘let’s get back [on the project]. We say that there has been injustice and that this injustice needs to be fixed,” said Demir, who was sanctioned by the U.S.
“The goal of all our efforts is not necessarily to get back on the program, but rather for the injustices to be seen and for our loss of rights to be compensated,” he added.
Ankara had ordered more than 100 F-35s and has been making parts for it, but in 2019, Washington announced it was taking Turkey out of the F-35 stealth fighter jet program over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
The U.S. claimed that the Russian S-400 would compromise security on the F-35s, but Turkey said these fears were baseless and has repeatedly proposed setting up a commission to clarify the issue.
In December, the U.S. imposed sanctions on its NATO ally Turkey over the S-400s, targeting its defense industry and top sector officials.
Despite Turkey’s removal from the program and sanctions imposed on its defense industry, the Pentagon has said it will continue to depend on Turkish contractors for key F-35 parts.