Has Turkey Found A Replacement For The American F-35 Fighter-Jets?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the creation of Turkish-made fighters by 2023. Erdogan also emphasised that in the near future the Turkish Air Force will receive new Bozdoğan ballistic missiles and the first Turkish aircraft carrier.

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Earlier, the United States suspended the supply of F-35 fighters to Turkey, and also curtailed the training program for Turkish pilots. The reason behind the suspension was the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems that Turkey purchased from Russia.

Washington had been urging Turkey to cancel the purchase of Russian air defence systems threatening sanctions and downgrading of bilateral defence ties. However, Turkey remained adamant and ignored US warnings.

On Wednesday, it also became known that the United States had curtailed a  secret program for the exchange of intelligence obtained through drones with Turkey. This time, the reason was Turkey’s actions against the Kurdish groups in Syria that the US supports.

American decision to indefinitely suspend the program, which has not been previously reported, was made in response to Turkey’s cross-border military incursion into Syria in October, the Reuters quoted a US official said.

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Earlier, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan had confirmed his interest of developing an indigenous fighter jet, after negotiations with the US failed over the purchase of F-35 jets.

The mockup of Turkey’s first indigenous fighter, T-FX, was unveiled this summer at the Paris Air Show. Turkish officials had said the aircraft, being developed by Turkish aerospace engine manufacturer, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), would be ready for 2023.

The Turkish government is keen to revive talks with Rolls-Royce for the design and production of its first indigenous fighter jet, the TF-X, a top cabinet minister had stated last year.

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Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had stated that Ankara wants to move forward with its planned cooperation with the UK for the production of the new-generation aircraft. But Turkey must first select an engine for the TF-X and then finalize the aircraft’s full design — a process that has lagged behind schedule.