* Turkey to order two F-35 jets, likely to start in 2015
* Aiming progress on missile talks with China in April
* Turkey to seek compensation from Airbus over late delivery
By Tulay Karadeniz
ANKARA, Feb 27 Turkey is likely to start
ordering F-35 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp
from 2015 onwards and it will start with two orders initially,
Turkey's undersecretary for state-run defence industries Murad
Bayar said on Thursday.
"We will start F-35 orders either this year or the next.
Right now, it is likely to be next year," Bayar told reporters.
"We will initially order two. The delivery time will be,
depending on the orders, probably in 2017-2018."
Turkey had already announced it plans to buy 100 F-35 jets
for $16 billion. Bayar said he expected the deliveries of 100
aircraft to be completed within 10 years.
The F-35, considered to be the world's most expensive
weapons programme at $396 billion so far, was designed to be the
next-generation fighter jet for the U.S. forces.
It is being built by the United States, Britain and seven
other co-development partners - Italy, Turkey, Canada,
Australia, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.
Separately, Bayar said Turkey was aiming to achieve results
in April on its talks with China over the purchase of long-range
missile defence systems, a move highly criticised by Turkey's
In September Turkey chose China's FD-2000 missile-defence
system over rival offers from Franco-Italian Eurosam SAMP/T and
U.S.-listed Raytheon Co. It said China offered the most
competitive terms and would allow co-production in Turkey.
U.S. and NATO officials have raised concerns with Turkish
officials about the decision to buy the system from CPMIEC, a
company hit by U.S. sanctions for sales of items to either Iran,
Syria or North Korea that are banned under U.S. laws to curb the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
"Our talks with China are ongoing. We have extended the
bidding until the end of April. We are aiming to get results in
early April on this," Bayar said.
Bayar also said Turkey will seek compensation over the late
delivery of the A400 military transport plane after Airbus
failed to meet some of its contractual obligations.
"My message to Airbus is that it should first focus on
fulfilling the terms of the contract. There is no additional
bargaining here. The contract, even with the amended version,
requires the fulfilment of certain technical qualities and we
have had to hold these talks because these requirements were not
completely fulfilled," Bayar said.
On Wednesday, Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said
bargaining was behind the delay and that it was 'unbearable'
that the company was still negotiating with Turkey over the
"The aircraft is ready to go. It is instantly, operationally
fit for flight. I find the situation increasingly unacceptable,"
Enders told reporters.
Bayar said he still expected the aircraft, which was
supposed to have been delivered to Turkey at the end of last
year, to arrive in March but Turkey was going to ask for
"Of course there has been a delay in the delivery schedule
and there will be compensation because of this. This will be the
financial dimension," Bayar said.
Meanwhile, Bayar said Japan had told Turkey that it will not
allow the export of a Japanese tank engine to third parties
without its permission.
His comments came after Japanese media reported that a deal
between Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Japanese
counterpart Shinzo Abe was struck in May, during Abe's visit to
Turkey, on the supply of engines, but that Turkey's desire to
export to third parties was likely to block the deal.
Bayar said that the potential purchase of the engine for
Turkey's Altay tank was dropped for now.
"We have agreed with Japanese authorities to leave this
topic off the agenda and focus on other areas of cooperation."
His comments appeared to close the door on a potential deal
for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to supply engines for
the Altay tank being developed by Turkey's Otokar.