The president of the Turkish Defense Industries declared on Tuesday that the country is not seeking to acquire the next-generation fighter jet F-35 “at any cost.” In an interview with Turkish channel NTV, Ismail Demir claimed Turkey’s move to hire the prominent US law firm Arnold & Porter was not an effort to re-enter the F-35 program but to seek compensation.
“What we are saying is that we do not desperately need to rejoin the program. We are saying there is an injustice that needs to be remedied,” Demir said.
“The goal of all our efforts is not necessarily a return to the program, but to seek compensation for the injustices we suffered and the arbitrary loss of our rights,” he added.
Turkey was excluded from the US F-35 program after purchasing the S-400 Russian missile defense system. Ankara was an active participant in the program, having been involved in research and development as well as having ordered 100 jets for its air force.
In December, the United States brought sanctions against numerous individuals from the Turkish defense industry including Demir himself. Turkey hired Arnold & Porter to represent its interests in Washington in February.