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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/19/19

Russia offers to sell Su-35 jets to Turkey after U.S. ends F-35 deal

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Russia is willing to supply Turkey with Su-35 supersonic multi-purpose fighters if Ankara wants them, the head of Russia's hi-tech conglomerate Rostec Sergei Chemezov said Thursday (July 18), after the United States expelled Turkey from the F-35 program.

"If our Turkish colleagues express a desire, we are ready to work out the delivery of the Su-35," Chemezov was quoted by the Chinese News Agency Xinhua as saying.

According to Military Machine, the Sukhoi Su-35, designated as 'Flanker-E' by NATO, is a Russian-made single seat, twin-engine multirole fighter. It is based on the previous existing design of the Su-27 Flanker. The Su-35 entered service in 2007 and has proven itself a very capable adversary to the current generation of American-made fighters such as the F-15 Eagle, the F-18, and even the F-35 Lightning II.

On Wednesday, the White House confirmed in a statement that Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems has led to the termination of Ankara's involvement in the F-35 program.

It noted that the F-35 jets cannot coexist with the S-400 system, arguing that its intelligence collection platform would be used to learn about the advanced capabilities of the F-35 stealth fighters.

Turkey has ordered more than 100 of the F-35 fighter jets, spending US$1.4 billion while its defense industry has invested significant sums into the warplanes' production.

Turkish reaction

Turkey called unfair the US move. "It is unfair to remove Turkey, one of the partners in the F-35 program," the ministry said, as it dismissed claims the Russian S-400 system would be a danger to the F-35s.

"This one-sided step neither complies with the spirit of alliance nor is it based on legitimate reasons," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

"We invite the US to take back this error which will pave the way to irreparable damage to our strategic relations," the Turkish ministry added.

The US-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighter "cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities", White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.

In December 2017, Ankara and Moscow signed a 2.5-billion-U.S.-dollar agreement for two batteries of the S-400 system, which is considered the most advanced of its kind in Russia, capable of destroying targets at a distance of up to 400 km and a height of up to 30 km.

The first delivery of the S-400 system from Russia began last week and further equipment has since been arriving every day by plane to an airbase in Ankara.

Relations between the Nato allies have deteriorated since Ankara's purchase from Russia but there have been strains over multiple issues including US support to a Syrian Kurdish militia viewed as terrorists by Turkey.

The Turkish ministry called on the US to show the importance of the Ankara-Washington relationship "not just through words but through action and especially in the fight against terrorist organizations."

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at the Aspen Institute's annual security forum in Aspen, Colorado, said he was concerned at Turkey's expulsion from the F-35 program.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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