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Turkey: US proposed to sell it F-16 fighters

Screenshot 2021-10-19 133105
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, on Sept. 29, 2021. (Vladimir Smirnov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Oct. 17 the United States has proposed the sale of a batch of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey to compensate Turkey’s $1.4 billion investment in the U.S.-led multinational F-35 program.

Turkey committed to buy more than 100 F-35s, but was removed from the program after it decided to purchase the Russian-made S-400 long-range air and anti-missile defense system.

Erdogan has been pressing the Biden administration either to deliver the two F-35s built for the Turkish military or return Turkey’s $1.4 billion payment for the aircraft.

Turkey’s current fleet of more than 200 F-16s will be phased out by 2035. Nearly 100 aircraft in the fleet await upgrades.

Turkey also is struggling to build the TF-X, its first indigenous fighter jet, and is aiming to fly the stealth aircraft in 2025 or 2026.