Türkiye does not ask the United States to allow Ankara to return to the F-35 fighter jet program but just wants reimbursement of its money already paid for the project, the Turkish foreign minister has said on May 7.
“We are not saying ‘Let’s go back to the F-35 [program] right now.’ We are saying ‘Give us our money back.’ Because we produce our own national combat aircraft,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in a televised interview
“We also want to improve relations with the U.S., and we have established the necessary mechanisms for this,” the minister said but noted that the tensions rise between Ankara and Washington due to the latter’s support for the YPG group in Syria and hosting the FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen in the U.S.
The U.S. has made various offers regarding the delivery of the Russian S-400s missile defense systems in Türkiye to third parties, Çavuşoğlu also said.
“They made offers that directly concern our sovereignty, such as asking to give its control to them, or somewhere else. Where is our independence, our sovereignty?”
The minister said one of the proposals made to Türkiye was to send the S-400s to Ukraine. “They told us ‘Will you send to Ukraine?’ We said ‘no,’” he stated.
Türkiye was excluded from the joint F-35 fifth-generation fighter jet program due to its deployment of the Russian S-400 air defense system.
Meanwhile, Çavuşoğlu on May 6 said the official vehicle of the Turkish ambassador to Sudan, İsmail Çobanoğlu, was hit by gunfire on May 6, but there were no causalities after the incident.
“None of our brothers, ambassador, or other guards were injured. The vehicle was damaged. Discussions continue with both parties on who did this and why,” the minister said.
He reminded that the clashes between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary and the Sudanese army were also taking place on the street where the embassy building was located.
“For the safety of our embassy and our colleagues, we decided to move our embassy to Port Sudan with the advice of the transitional government of the army. They even helped until they got there, but when they entered the street, open fire started,” he said.
The embassy staff was under gunfire despite the Turkish authorities informing both sides of the transfer of the embassy personnel to Port Sudan, he said.