Turkey to eye alternatives if F-35s not acquired

Turkey to eye alternatives if F-35s not acquired

Turkey said Saturday it would search for alternative fighter jets if it could not acquire F-35s for any reason, Anadolu agency reports.

"All should be aware that Turkey will have to look for alternatives if F-35s [jets] cannot be acquired for any reason," National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said at an interview with Al Jazeera.

Hulusi Akar underlined Turkey's recently-bought Russian S-400 missile defense systems would not be integrated into Turkey's defense system and that they would instead be part of a "stand-alone system".

"That's what we have been saying since the beginning [of the dispute with the U.S.]. It [S-400] will definitely be a 'stand-alone' system. We are not going to integrate this with the NATO systems in any way. It will operate independently," he said.

Emphasizing that Turkey has fulfilled its responsibilities as one of the partner countries in the F-35 program, he said the country's allies -- particularly the U.S. -- should do their part accordingly.

Akar said a previous attempt by Turkey to buy U.S.-made Patriot defense systems had been rejected, after which Ankara purchased the S-400 system.

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