World Bulletin / News Desk
Defense Minister Fikri Işık said on Friday that Turkey decided to buy 16 new F-35 fighter jets as part of its military reinforcement.
Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Işık said in the latest meeting of the Defense Industry Executive Committee it was decided that the 16 new F-35s will replace the F-4 aircrafts.
He said that Turkey is a partner in developing the new generation fighter jet built by Lockheed Martin.
The company is building three variants of the F-35 for the U.S. military and 10 countries that plan to buy the jets: Britain, Australia, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Japan and South Korea.
A Lockheed representative said the company is “honored” by Turkey's continued commitment to the F-35 program which was further demonstrated by the decision by the DIEC on Oct. 29.
Some parts of the F-35s are developing in Turkey, Minister Işık said.
Turkey had placed its first orders in 2014 with two jets and has added another four to that in 2015, according to the Undersecretariate for Defense Industries website. It aims to eventually purchase a total of 100, it said.
Defense Minister Işık also said that Turkey was in talks with Russia on the potential purchase of S-400 air missile defense systems, adding that Ankara was also in touch with other countries on missile defense.
Işık said that Russia's stance on the issue has so far been positive, and added that we cannot ignore the Russian offer.
He stated that Turkey's final goal is to build its own air defense system.
The minister also touched upon Turkey's ongoing operation against the Daesh terrorist organization in the northern Syrian city of al-Bab, highlighting that the operation was being conducted studiously, as Ankara was in contact with Moscow and Washington on the issue.