Putin tempts Turkey away from Nato with fighter jet

Putin tempts Turkey away from Nato with fighter jet

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will sell Turkey the SU-57 stealth fighters, which could jeopardise Ankara’s membership of Nato.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the Maks-2019 international air show near Moscow where he studied an SU-57. Erdogan asked if they were for sale. “You can buy,” Putin said. 

“A lot has drawn interest from our Turkish partners, not only from a purchase point of view but also from joint production,” Putin said at a joint press conference. 

“Erdogan’s visit has been an opportunity to discuss joint perspective projects not only in aviation but also in other domains such as the S-400,” Putin told the media. 

Turkey has also expressed an interest in the SU-35 fighter jets.

“We are taking positive steps in the defence industry sector with the delivery of the S-400 systems starting,” Erdogan said alongside Putin.

“With that, in our meetings today we had the opportunity to discuss what steps we could take in various fields within the defence industry and what we could do,” the populist strongman added.

Putin said he and Erdogan discussed cooperation on the SU-35 jet and possible shared efforts on the new SU-57.

Washington last month cancelled Turkey’s purchase of its F-35 stealth fighters after the Turkish decision to buy Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft system for US$2.5 billion.  

The US is concerned that Russian technical advisers could probe the F-35’s stealth technology and Ankara can no longer play a full part in Nato air-defence operation. 

Russian security sources said Turkey was expected to step up its purchases of Russian weapons. “The Americans won’t like it, of course,” Evgeny Buzhinsky, an ex-member of Russia’s general staff, told the state media. “But no one will exclude Turkey from Nato because it’s too important an ally.”

Turkish and Russian relations have improved dramatically since Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border in 2015. 

But the two countries are on opposite sides in the Syrian civil war. 

The Moscow-backed Assad military has attacked Idlib province in northwest Syria. 

Erdogan said the assault on the Islamist groups that control the province threatened Turkish national security. He warned that Turkey was preparing to deploy ground forces to secure its borders.

Putin said he and Erdogan agreed on steps to reduce hostilities in Idlib.

 

 

The SU-57. Picture credit: Wikimedia

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