Turkey Says F-35 Fighter Jets to Be Delivered in November Despite U.S. Opposition

Statement comes after some U.S. lawmakers voiced concern over Ankara's purchase of advanced Russian S-400 air defense systems

FILE Photo: An F-35 jet flies over its new operational base at Hill Air Force Base, in northern Utah, September 2, 2015.
Rick Bowmer/ AP

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Thursday that Ankara expects the delivery of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets in November, despite opposition from U.S. lawmakers and high-ranking soldiers.

"We expect the jets to arrive in Malatya [province] in November. We have finalized infrastructure work regarding this," state news agency Anadolu quoted Akar as saying in Ankara.

>> Analysis: Can the U.S. risk Turkey flying the F-35?  

He would not say how many jets would be transferred.

Turkey seeks to buy about 100 F-35s made by Lockheed Martin; Turkish pilots have already begun training in the United States.

Some U.S. lawmakers, however, are concerned over Ankara's purchase of advanced Russian S-400 air defense systems among other issues.

Ankara says there is no turning back from the Russian deal, pointing out it wants to buy U.S.-made Patriots due to growing defense needs.

The Pentagon on March 8 warned NATO ally Turkey of "grave consequences" if it buys the S-400, according to Anadolu.

"They would not have access to Patriots and the F-35," acting Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers said, according to Anadolu.

Turkey and the US have a working coordination on the development and delivery of F-35 jets "despite certain statements" in the U.S., Akar said on Thursday. He would not elaborate.