Turkey does not rule out the possibility of purchasing Russia's Su-35 and Su-57 fighter jets, although it prioritizes the creation of its own, domestically-developed next-gen fighter, Industry Minister Mustafa Varank has announced.
"If Russia has an aircraft that meets our current needs, if there are no difficulties with introducing it into our system and launching it, then we can certainly purchase it from Russia or some other country in Europe. Our approach to this issue is not categorical and antagonistic," Varank said, speaking to Sputnik Turkey on Thursday.
The subject of the potential sale of Russian fighters to the NATO nation is brought up regularly at meetings been the two country's leaders, the minister added.
"Of course, we prioritize development of Turkey's capacities related to fifth-generation fighters. But if Russia has an aircraft that meets our needs and goals, Turkey will purchase it," Varank said.
The minister also confirmed that negotiations regarding a second batch of S-400s for Turkey are ongoing, and that Turkey is interested in technological cooperation and the possibility of partial localized production.
Asked to comment on Washington's decision to kick Turkey out of the F-35 programme, Varank said that the move has actually prompted Ankara to mobilize its domestic military industry, including in the aviation sector, to advance projects such as unmanned aerial vehicles. Additionally, Turkish Aerospace Industries continues its work with Britain's BAE Systems on the development of a next-gen 'National Combat Aircraft' project, also known as the TF-X (Turkish Fighter - Experimental).
Varank says the country's goal is to achieve 100 percent self-sufficiency in the defence sector, and estimates that localization has been increased from 20 to 70 percent.