US should deliver F-35s we paid for: Turkish FM
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Oct. 27 the United States should either deliver the F-35 fighter jets that Turkey paid for or return the money or give another product instead.
“If the U.S does not want to resolve the F35s issue, or if the U.S. Congress blocks it, then Turkey will consider other options, including purchasing [Russian-made] SU-35 or SU-57,” Çavuşoğlu told private broadcaster CNN Türk in a televised interview, adding that talks on the issue would continue.
“We see that different lobbies are active on this issue,” the minister said.
“There are 11 congress members. Congressional approval is essential. Why did we buy the S-400s? Because the U.S. did not sell the Patriots to us using Congress as an excuse, so we turned to other sources. Now, a similar move may come from Congress, but the attitude of the U.S. administration is more important here. The administration can persuade Congress,” he added.
Çavuşoğlu said that double standards against Turkey would weaken NATO.
In 2019, Washington announced that it was taking Turkey out of the F-35 program over Ankara’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system.
Turkey, however, stressed that the S-400s would not be integrated into NATO systems and pose no threat to the alliance or its armaments.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Oct. 26 said he would discuss with U.S. President Joe Biden the $1.4-billion payment plan for the F-35 fighter jets that Washington refused to deliver to Turkey after Ankara purchased Russian-made S-400 defense systems.
The most important subject in this meeting will be the F-35 issue, Erdoğan said, noting that there were signals from Washington to deliver the F-16 warplanes in return for Turkey’s money paid for the F-35 program.
“There is some information we received at the lower level. Some information about giving us F-16s… The information we received is that there is a plan to pay for this with them. Whether this is true, we will learn from them. At the highest level, of course, it would be appropriate for me to talk to Mr. Biden. If so, we will have reached an agreement accordingly,” Erdoğan stated.
Turkey made preparations to declare envoys persona non grata: Minister
Elaborating on the statements by the 10 Western ambassadors regarding the jailed businessman Osman Kavala’s case, Çavuşoğlu said Ankara had made preparations to declare them persona non grata before the envoys made a new statement calming down the diplomatic spat.
“We had made the preparations to declare them persona non grata upon the instruction of our president, and we were going to present that to the cabinet on Monday. According to Article 9 of the Convention, they can be deported without giving any reason,” he said.
“After our president’s speech, the panic deepened even more, some of the envoys started to pack their suitcases, and then they took a step back,” he added.
Then the ambassadors started blaming each other; there were those who blamed his assistants, the minister said.
This has nothing to do with the G-20, he said, adding, “Young diplomats made this statement. We know that some of them got approval from their country. In particular, we know that the U.S. ambassador received approval from his country. The news that there is Biden behind the statement is also not true, according to the information we have.”
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is also wrong on its stance regarding the Kavala case, Çavuşoğlu said.
“Why do you bring only one case to the fore regarding the implementation of the ECHR’s decisions? Why don’t you do this in decisions for other countries? There are ECHR decisions that other countries do not apply. For example, Greece has not implemented the decision it has been asked to for 14 years,” he stated.
Responding to a question on Syria and increased terrorist acts in the country, Çavuşoğlu said that neither the U.S. nor Russia kept the promise they made under the agreements reached after Turkey’s anti-terror push Operation Peace Spring for keeping YPG group away from Turkish borders. “PKK/YPG increased their attacks. Neither Russia nor the U.S. fulfilled their promises. We have to do what is best for us,” he said.