ISTANBUL - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is threatening to deepen military ties with Moscow unless the United States lifts its embargo on the sale of a key fighter jet. The warning comes ahead of next week's planned meeting between Erodgan and President Donald Trump.
Turkey is set to purchase the Su-35, Russia's latest fighter bomber. The country is already provoking alarm among its western allies with its procurement of Russia's S-400 missile system.
"When we bought the S-400, we did not ask anyone [for permission]. So, if we make a decision, we will purchase them [Su-35]," Erdogan said Tuesday.
Erdogan indicates a final decision on the Russian jet purchase could be in the hands of Washington. He called for Trump to unfreeze the sale of America's F-35 fighter jet to Turkey. The U.S. embargo was imposed in retaliation of Ankara procuring the S-400, which Washington claims compromises NATO weapons systems, particularly the F-35's stealth technology.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan visit the MAKS 2019 air show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, Russia, August 27, 2019. Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan visit the MAKS 2019 air show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, Russia, Aug. 27, 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Erdogan at a Moscow air display in August where the Su-35 was on display.
In October, the Turkish Daily Sabah, which has close ties to the government, reported Ankara was close to buying 36 of the Russian fighter bombers.
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