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The New Arab

Turkey to develop its own fighters jets by 2023 in efforts to curb foreign dependence

Turkey has already produced its own drones and warships [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 30 September, 2019

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Turkey aims to 'completely remove foreign dependence in the defence industry' by 2023, Erdogan said.
Turkey will develop its own fighters jets in the near future rather than seeking them out abroad, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.

"We will accomplish to make our own fighter jets, just like we did with our attack helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and armed unmanned aerial vehicles," the Turkish president said in a speech in Istanbul.

Turkey has a flourishing native drone industry but has been forced to seek out fighter jets, missiles and other weapons and defence systems from outside countries.

Ankara was earlier this year ejected from NATO's F-35 fighter jet programme after Erdogan opted to purchase the Russian S-400 missile defence systems despite repeated warnings from the United States not to do so.

US officials said Turkey could no longer remain in the joint production program for the stealth fighter jets as its purchase of the Russian technology posed a risk to NATO defences.

Moscow has since offered to sell Turkey its own Su-35 jets.

Turkey had, until Sunday, held off on commiting to any option for acquiring new fighter jets, with President Erdogan often expressing optimism that Ankara would be re-admitted to the F-35 programme.

Read more: This is why Turkey will not buy the Russian fighter jets

The "time is close" for Turkey to begin producing its own fighter jets, he said according to local media.

"Our aim is to completely remove foreign dependence in the defence industry, by 2023," the president explained.

"The troubles we have been going through for the past six years are to prevent Turkey from achieving these goals. As I've always been saying, they will not be successful. If they woke up the sleeping giant, they will face the consequences."

Erdogan has also indicated a desire to acquire nuclear weapons in recent months, stating last week at the United Nations that either all nations or none should be allowed nuclear capabilities.

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