Istanbul – Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, said on Thursday that Ankara was expecting delivery of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets in November, 2019.
He said that the delivery would be made in spite of opposition from U.S. lawmakers and high-ranking soldiers.
“We expect the jets to arrive in Malatya province in November. We have finalised infrastructure work regarding this,’’ state news agency, Anadolu, quoted Akar as saying in Ankara.
He would not say how many jets would be transferred.
Turkey wants to buy about 100 F-35s made by Lockheed Martin; Turkish pilots have already begun training in the United States.
Some U.S. lawmakers, however, are concerned over Ankara’s purchase of advanced Russian S-400 air defence systems among other issues.
Ankara says there is no turning back from the Russian deal and points out that it also wants to buy U.S.-made Patriots, citing growing defence needs.
The Pentagon on March 8, warned NATO ally, Turkey, of “grave consequences’’ if it bought the S-400, according to Anadolu.
“They would not have access to Patriots and the F-35,’’ acting Pentagon spokesman, Charlie Summers, said, according to Anadolu.
Turkey and the U.S. have a working coordination on the development and delivery of F-35 jets “in spite of certain statements’’ in the U.S., Akar said on Thursday, and did not elaborate.