Turkey and Russia are close to an agreement on the delivery of 36 Russian fighter jets. These are jet fighters of type Sukhoi Su-35, relatively new planes which were launched five years ago. This deal is remarkable, because not so long ago Turkey still had American jets on its wish list.
Turkey was planning to buy the F-35 ‘Joint Strike Fighter’ from the American aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin, but due to the purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system by Turkey this will not happen. The United States wants to prevent the Russian missile system from collecting information about the F-35 aircraft. For this reason, Turkey was excluded from the F-35 program.
Russia provides an alternative
Turkey and Russia already discussed the supply of fighter planes in September. Putin took the opportunity to invite the Turkish president Erdogan to the International Aviation and Space Salon air show in Moscow, where the arsenal of Russian fighters and helicopters was presented to the Turkish president.
This new arms deal symbolizes the deteriorated relationship between Turkey and NATO. It also shows that Russia’s military power and influence are increasing. Several countries in the region have already bought Russian anti-aircraft systems in recent years. Also the Russian fighter jets are cheaper than the American F-35.