Turkey to develop indigenous fighter jet, says Erdoğan

Turkey is preparing to build its own fighter jet as the country aims to become self-sufficient in terms of defence needs by 2023, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday. 

Erdoğan’s statements on plans for building an indigenous fighter jet follows a move by Washington in July to eject Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet programme over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system. 

"We will soon build our own warplanes just as we have built our own UAVs, ATAK helicopters. If they woke the sleeping giant, they will suffer the consequences," pro-government A Haber quoted Erdoğan as saying, referring to the F-35 fighter jet dispute between Ankara and Washington. 

The United States maintains the F-35 stealth fighter jets cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform and Washington has threatened Turkey with sanctions over the purchase.

Turkey began eyeing Russian Su-35 or Su-57 fighter jets following its suspension from the F-35 programme, Russian diplomatic sources reported this month.

The Turkish president also said recent developments in Mediterranean have caused Turkey to push for increasing its naval strength, during a commissioning ceremony of the TCG Kınaliada, an indigenous design of a corvette type military ship.

Tensions over hydrocarbons have escalated in the region after the discovery of possibly large gas reserves off the divided island of Cyprus, where there are conflicting claims over territorial waters.

Turkey has become one of the 10 nations to build and maintain a warship using exclusively domestic means, Erdoğan said.