President Tayyip Erdogan said he believed Turkey and the United States will make progress in talks for the sale of F-16 fighter jets and that Ankara will recoup $1.4 billion it paid for F-35s it is blocked from buying
"We will get back the $1.4 billion in one way or another," Erdogan told reporters late yesterday on the plane returning from a trip to Africa, adding that the Turkish defense minister and US defense secretary have been discussing the issue.
Saying he believed positive steps would be taken, Erdogan added the issue would be discussed with US President Joe Biden during this weekend's G20 meeting in Rome.
"In no way will we let anyone abuse Turkey's rights," he added.
In 2017, when its protracted efforts to buy the Patriot air defense system from the US proved fruitless, Turkey signed a contract with Russia to acquire its S-400 defense system.
Last year the US suspended Turkey from the F-35 jet programme, claiming the S-400s would expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge.
Turkey, however, stressed that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and poses no threat to the alliance or its armament. It has repeatedly urged a working group to clear up the technical compatibility issues.
Erdogan said at the weekend that the United States had offered to sell Turkey the F-16s in return for Ankara's downpayment on the more advanced F-35s.