Turkey determined to get back owed money from US: Turkish president

Turkey determined to get back owed money from US: Turkish president

Back from African tour, Recep Tayyip Erdogan also says FETO terror group losing ground on African continent

By Tanju Ozkaya

ANKARA (AA) - Turkey is determined to get back the $1.4 billion the US owes it over F-35 jets Turkey paid for but were never delivered, the Turkish president has stressed.

“We will get back the $1.4 billion in one way or another,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters late Wednesday on the plane returning from a trip to Africa, adding that Turkish defense minister and US defense secretary have been discussing the issue.

Saying he believed positive steps would be taken, he said the issue would be discussed with US President Joe Biden during this weekend’s G20 meeting in Rome.

“In no way will we let anyone abuse Turkey’s rights,” he added.

In 2017, when its protracted efforts to buy the Patriot air defense system from the US proved fruitless, Turkey signed a contract with Russia to acquire its S-400 defense system.

Last year the US suspended Turkey from the F-35 jet program, claiming the S-400s would expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge.

Turkey, however, stressed that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and poses no threat to the alliance or its armament.

It has repeatedly urged a working group to clear up the technical compatibility issues.

- FETO terror threat and Africa

On his visits this week to Angola, Togo, and Nigeria, Erdogan stressed Turkey’s efforts to forge common ground with African countries against the threat of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.

At a quadrilateral meeting held in Togo, FETO was listed as a terrorist organization in a text specific to Africa for the first time, said Erdogan.

He added that the terror group has faced “a serious collapse” on the continent, especially in its private schools, which it uses as a revenue stream and a fig leaf to project false respectability.

“A noteworthy number of schools have been transferred to our Maarif Foundation; it has taken over 216 FETO-affiliated schools in 19 countries,” he said, referring to a Turkish foundation established after the defeated coup to transfer FETO-affiliated schools to responsible administration.

The FETO terror group has started to slowly collapse in Southern Africa, said Erdogan.

Stating that the terror group still has a presence in Nigeria, Erdogan touched on his meeting with the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

He added that the dozens of school acquisitions by Turkey's Maarif Foundation in Africa are proof that the FETO terror group has been slowly collapsing on the continent.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people dead and 2,734 injured.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

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