28 Aug, 2019
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan poured more fuel on the rumors that Ankara might be buying Russian Su-57 fighters if the US follows through on cutting Turkey out of the F-35 program.
“Why not? We didn’t come here for nothing,” was his response, prompting breaking headlines in Turkey.
— Akşam Gazetesi (@Aksam) August 28, 2019
Erdogan added that “in a few days” he is expecting a call with US President Donald Trump, when he will be told the final US decision about the F-35 and react accordingly. Turkey is not just a customer for the F-35 but a manufacturer, Erdogan explained.
On Tuesday, Erdogan toured the air show with Putin and lingered around the Su-57, Russia’s fifth-generation jet and answer to the F-35. In an exchange caught on camera, the Turkish leader asks if the plane is airworthy and for sale – and Putin responded affirmatively on both counts.
It was the first time the export variant of the Su-57 was presented to the public. The Russian military started receiving its first serial-production models earlier this year.
Ankara has repeatedly said it would have to look for modern aircraft elsewhere if it was barred from buying the F-35 purchases. Washington threatened to cut Turkey off last month, after the first deliveries of the S-400 air defense systems from Russia. The Pentagon insists that the F-35 is not compatible with the S-400, and that having the two systems operate together might reveal the stealth jet’s secrets to Moscow.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Moscow pushing Erdogan towards Su-35 purchase, talks with Syria
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spontaneous visit to Moscow on August 27 coincided with the start of the deliveries of the second division of Russia’s S-400s to Turkey. Contrary to all expectations that observers made after the implementation of the S-400 deal, relations between the two countries did not receive a new impetus, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote. Turkish experts believe that Ankara has become very dependent on Moscow, and now, after the air strike on the Turkish convoy in Syria, Erdogan will have to make new concessions to Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Erdogan. They will face tough negotiations on regional issues, the newspaper wrote. The conversation is expected to take place after the MAKS-2019 air show. According to experts, Erdogan’s upcoming visit to Moscow is unplanned and mostly unexpected, since the presidents were supposed to meet in Ankara in mid-September. Due to the haste, there is reason to believe that Erdogan’s arrival in Moscow is compulsory, the newspaper wrote. The recent air strike against a heavily armed Turkish convoy moving towards the Syrian city of Khan Shaykhun could be the reason, the newspaper reported.
Turkish political scientist Kerim Has told the newspaper that Turkey needs dialogue with Damascus, namely with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but Erdogan has no direct contact with him. The expert believes that the meeting will not be easy. Turkey could not have thought that after the start of S-400 deliveries, Moscow would continue to support Damascus. Moscow’s policy largely ties Erdogan’s hands and Ankara is becoming increasingly dependent, he added.
The expert noted that Erdogan would have to make concessions again and most likely revive the conversation about purchasing Russia’s Su-35 fighter.