US will not provide Turkey with F-16 fighters, retired general thinks

Retired Turkish General Fahri Erenel: The US will not provide Turkey with F-16 fighters

The U.S. will not provide Turkey with F-16 fighters, Ankara should cooperate with Moscow in this regard, retired Turkish General Fahri Erenel said.

The U.S. previously excluded Turkey from the program of supplying the latest F-35 fighter jets as punishment for the purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan later announced a U.S. offer to buy other fighters, but not fifth generation, but the fourth – F-16s. The deal is yet to be approved by Congress, where it has influential opponents.

“I see it the same way as the Patriot system process. They said they wouldn’t give it to us, and when we bought the S-400, they used it as a sanctions tool. A similar process is developing with the F-16. Let’s say they decide that we modernize the ones we have in 1-2 years, but it will take at least 4-5 years for the other 60 to show up. In 4-5 years, Turkey will develop its own aircraft. At this time, I think we should cooperate with countries that will make up our deficit and provide us with ready-made aircraft. It could be Russia, France…,” Aydınlık newspaper quoted the general as saying.

According to the general, the U.S. will not provide Turkey with F-16s “even if Ankara has a change of government.”

“Even if there is a change of government in Turkey, they will not give them (F-16s). That’s Turkey’s perspective. Also, even if there is a change of government, I don’t think it will be any different in the Aegean Sea or Cyprus, because anyone who takes that position will leave power. Anyone who thinks about a different approach to Cyprus and the Aegean has no future,” Erenel believes.

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