The U.S.’ F-35 fighter jet program is "doomed to complete failure" if Turkey’s contributions are excluded, the Turkish president warned on Tuesday.
"Turkey did not and will not accept any impositions in the defense realm, just as in the areas of politics, diplomacy, and the economy," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the 14th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF'19) in Istanbul.
He decried attempted "impositions" concerning the F-35s, referring to U.S. threats to cancel the sale over Turkey buying Russian S-400 missile defense.
"We think that those who try to exclude us on an issue where we are a project and production partner can’t see beyond the end of this.
"I am saying explicitly that the F-35 project is doomed to complete failure if Turkey is excluded," Erdogan said.
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have worsened in recent months with Turkey set to begin receiving the advanced S-400 Russian surface-to-air missile system, which Washington says will jeopardize Turkey's role in the F-35 fighter jet program and could trigger congressional sanctions.
Foreign defense dependence falls
Erdogan also said Turkey has reduced its foreign defense industry dependence from 80% to 30% and it now exports defense industry products.
He added that the country is also making advances in unmanned air vehicles worldwide.
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