Turkish media reported on Sunday that Ankara may choose to buy Russian Su-57 fighter jets instead of the US F-35 fighter jet. A source in the Turkish military industry and experts has commented on the news.
The Yeni Safak newspaper reported that Turkey may prefer the Russian Su-57s to the US F-35s if the United States blocks the delivery of the latter because of Turkey’s previous acquisition of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system.
A source in the Turkish defense department said that such matters are published based on analysts’ opinion and “do not represent the official position of Ankara.”
Russian military analyst Igor Korotchenko, however, believes that such a scenario is “very real.”
“A few years ago no one could imagine that the S-400 could be sold to Ankara, but today such a contract is an accomplished fact,” Korotchenko recalled.
At the same time, the analyst believes that the news about the possible purchase of Su-57 fighters by Turkey is for the moment only a signal to Washington.
“For the time being it appears to be just a signal – a broadcast through the Turkish media. Announcing such a possibility [of purchasing Russian fighter jets], Turkey is showing the United States that blackmail will not be accepted,” said the analyst and director of the Center for International Arms Trade Review.
According to him, Moscow could make this decision to strengthen strategic relations with Ankara, but the sale of the Su-57s to Turkey will only be possible when the aircraft goes through all tests and is incorporated into the Russian Aerospace Forces.
In December 2017, Turkey and Russia signed an agreement to sell the S-400 missile system. Ankara will buy two batteries from the system, which will be operated by Turkish staff. The parties also agreed to maintain technological cooperation in the field of air defense systems in Turkey.
US and NATO representatives have repeatedly criticized Ankara for its deal in question with Moscow.