Erdogan says Turkey wants to continue defense cooperation with Russia

Tue 27 Aug 2019 17:52 GMT | 21:52 Local Time

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President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey wants to continue defense industry cooperation with Russia, including on warplanes, following talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Trend reports citing Reuters.

Erdogan spoke after the leaders visited an air show outside the Russian capital where Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter jets performed demonstration flights and the Turkish leader inspected aircraft.

In another step that could further strain ties with NATO ally the United States, Turkey took delivery on Tuesday of the second batch of Russian S-400 air defense equipment.

“We are taking positive steps in the defense industry sector with the delivery of the S-400 systems starting,” Erdogan said at a news conference alongside Putin.

“With that, in our meetings today we had the opportunity to discuss what steps we could take in various fields within the defense industry and what we could do,” he added.

The initial delivery of parts of the S-400s, which Washington says is not compatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) defenses, arrived in Ankara in July despite warnings about possible U.S. sanctions over the purchase.

Washington has not yet acted on the threat, but it did begin last month to remove Turkey from its program of manufacturing F-35 jets, which Turkey also planned to buy. In response, Erdogan said Turkey would turn elsewhere for jets to meet its needs.

Putin said he and Erdogan discussed cooperation on Russia’s Su-35 jet and possible joint work on its new Su-57.

“In my opinion, a lot has drawn interest from our Turkish partners, not only from a purchase point of view but also from joint production,” Putin said at the joint briefing.

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