President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised Turkey a domestically produced fifth generation fighter jet by 2023 in response to the country’s exclusion from the US F-35 fighter jet program for buying the Russian S-400 missile defence system.
Turkey was not only going to be part of the co-production process, but were to purchase 100 F-35 fighter jets.
“Now is the time for the National Fighter Aircraft, one of the most important projects of our country’s defence industry,” commented Erdoğan in a social media post.
The exclusion of Turkey from the co-production of the F35, and the embargo on military equipment by many countries, has created a serious problem in the country’s armaments programs.
Erdoğan also officially acknowledged that Turkey is facing a problem with the arms embargo, but did not appear to be bothered and said they could build their own weapon systems.
Setting a milestone in 2023, a pre-election year for him, the Turkish president promised his compatriots a national fighter jet very soon.
Analysts estimate, however, that this is a pre-election firework, since both the time and the means are not enough for Turkey to proceed with the planning and production of its own fighter.