Editor’s note: Perhaps the Turks are seriously considering this, perhaps they’re studying the Russian offer just to be polite. Perhaps they’re doing it just to troll the Americans. Whichever the case, it’s fascinating.
The Turkish defence procurement authority has asked the Turkish military to formally weigh in on the possible purchase of Russian Su-35 jets and will start official negotiations with Rosoboronexport if the military approves the proposal, pro-government daily Yeni Şafak reported on Saturday.
Ankara began considering the Russian Su-35s following a move by the United States last month to halt the delivery of the F-35 stealth fighter jets to Turkey, after the country took delivery of Russian-made S-400 missile systems amid concerns that it may lead to possible Russian subterfuge.
The Pentagon also removed Turkey from the joint production programme of F-35 jets, while Ankara risks further U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA ).
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov last month announced that Russia was ready to sell combat aircraft to Ankara, while Sergey Chemezov, the head of Russia’s top state-run industrial conglomerate Rostec, said the country was ready to supply Turkey Su-35s.
Following expulsion from the F-35 programme, Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate has focused on lengthening the life cycle of the jets already in the military’s inventory throws increased maintenance and speeding up the development of its national combat aircraft, TF-X. The mock up of the aircraft was introduced at the Paris Air Show in June.
For cases of emergency, the directorate has also been considering purchasing aircrafts from Russia, China, and Pakistan, Yeni Şafak said.
In relation to that, the agency asked opinions of the Ministry of Defence and Turkish Air Forces regarding the possible purchase of Russian Su-35 jets.
If Turkey’s defence bodies give a thumbs up, Turkey will start official negotiations with Russia, according to Yeni Şafak.