Erdogan says US refusal to deliver F-35 jets would be 'robbery'
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said it would be 'robbery' for the US to deny Turkey the F-35 fighter jets it has bought, according to comments published on Thursday.
Turkey-US ties are under serious strain over Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence system, which is due for delivery in the coming days.
In response, Washington has threatened to cancel Turkey's order of 116 F-35 fighter jets and kick it off the training and production programme, as well as wider economic sanctions.
'If you seek a customer, and a customer comes forward and makes payments like clockwork, how can you not give that customer their goods? This would be robbery,' Erdogan was quoted as saying by Hurriyet daily.
He said Turkey had already paid $1.4 billion, while its defence industry has ploughed significant sums into the warplanes' production.
The acting US defence secretary, Patrick Shanahan, wrote a letter to Ankara last month warning that Turkish pilots would be expelled from the US if the S-400 deal was not cancelled by July 31.
But after meeting his US counterpart Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan on Saturday, Erdogan said he had been assured there would be no sanctions.
Trump blamed the previous administration of Barack Obama for failing to finalise a deal for Turkey to buy the American Patriot system instead of the S-400.
Turkey has previously said Russia offered a better deal including joint production. In his latest comments, Erdogan said Trump's attitude was 'praiseworthy'.
Leasing is looking like an increasingly attractive option for the Indian military.
The French government has announced it will contract Dassault for the production of 12 Falcon 2000 Albatros maritime multirole aircraft.
PODCAST: UK injects £16.5 billion into defence, China’s microwave weapons and Sense-Through-The-Wall capabilities
Welcome to Episode 46 of the second series of The Weekly Defence Podcast. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and more. Sign up to an early email alert ...
The UK government has announced an extra £16.5 billion for defence spending over the next four years, with Royal Navy modernisation a key focus of new commitments.
Announcing the decision to renationalise the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in early November, the UK government opted to bring this key element of its nuclear infrastructure back under direct control by the MoD.
The UK has warned that the anti-satellite capabilities of China and Russia are threatening safe and peaceful behaviour in space.