Erdogan suggests Turkey could look to Russia for jets

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (AP)
Updated 31 August 2019

Erdogan suggests Turkey could look to Russia for jets

  • Erdogan told reporters in Ankara, referring to Russia’s Sukhoi fighter jets

ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday suggested Turkey could look to Russia for an alternative after the US excluded Ankara from its F-35 fighter jet program.

Following Turkey’s controversial purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, Washington discontinued Turkey’s involvement in the F-35 program.

“If the US continues with the same attitude on the F-35 issue, we will take care of ourselves. Will it be the Su-35? The F-35? Or the Su-57?” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara, referring to Russia’s Sukhoi fighter jets.

He indicated that the Turkish government was still in the early stages of considering its options.

“Beyond putting the Su-35, F-35 or Su-57 on the table, we are exploring what measures we can take for our defense industry, for our defense,” Erdogan said. Joint production and credit plans were conditions that would be sought, he said.

Turkey has repeatedly said that Ankara wants to become a producer of military hardware and not just a buyer from countries such as the US and Russia.

Erdogan’s comments came after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday on the margins of the MAKS international air show on the outskirts of Moscow, a showcase for Russia’s military and civilian aerospace industry.

Turkey had ordered over 100 F-35 jets and its defense industry had plowed significant investment into the jet’s development.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier on Friday during a visit to Oslo that Turkey had spent $1.4 billion on the F-35 program.

“In the worst case scenario, President Donald Trump told Erdogan in Osaka during the G20 (summit in June) that they will pay this money back to Turkey. But we hope that we will not get to that stage,” Cavusoglu said.


Iran virus deaths surge past 24,000

Updated 20 September 2020

Iran virus deaths surge past 24,000

  • President Hassan Rouhani blamed people’s failure to observe preventive measures, especially wearing masks, for the surge in cases

JEDDAH: The official coronavirus death toll in Iran surged past 24,000 on Saturday as health chiefs admitted 90 percent of COVID-19 patients on ventilators in hospital were dying.

Payam Tabarsi, head of infectious diseases at Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran, said the number of emergency room patients had jumped from 68 a day to 200 in the past week. “People are queuing to be admitted,” he said, and if the trend continued, deaths from coronavirus could reach 600 a day within weeks.

Iran’s total number of confirmed cases in the past 24 hours spiked by 2,845 to 419,043 and the death toll rose by 166 to 24,118, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said.

Iran was slow to react to the first coronavirus cases in February, and is now battling the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak. Daily infections have remained above 2,000 for the past two weeks and are nearing the 3,574 high reached in early June.

Analysts both inside and outside Iran are skeptical of the official figures and believe the true level of infections and deaths is far higher. President Hassan Rouhani blamed people’s failure to observe preventive measures, especially wearing masks, for the surge in cases.

“Today, the Health Ministry gave a worrying report,” he said on Saturday. “The public’s observance, which was 82 percent in earlier weeks, has fallen to 62 percent.”

FASTFACTS

  • Iran’s total number of confirmed cases in the past 24 hours spiked by 2,845 to 419,043 and the death toll rose by 166 to 24,118. •Daily infections have remained above 2,000 for the past two weeks and are nearing the 3,574 high reached in early June. •551 new cases were reported in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, taking the total to 329,271. •Worldwide, the virus has infected just under 31 million people and killed nearly 960,000, amid fears of a ‘second wave.’
  • Daily infections have remained above 2,000 for the past two weeks and are nearing the 3,574 high reached in early June.
  • 551 new cases were reported in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, taking the total to 329,271.
  • Worldwide, the virus has infected just under 31 million people and killed nearly 960,000, amid fears of a ‘second wave.’

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia daily coronavirus case numbers have fallen to a five-month low after 551 new cases were reported on Saturday, taking the total to 329,271. The death toll rose by 28 to 4,458. The last time the Kingdom recorded numbers in the 500s was April 15, when 518 cases were reported.

Worldwide, the virus has infected just under 31 million people and killed nearly 960,000, amid fears of a “second wave” of the pandemic after the first outbreaks early in the year.

European countries from Denmark to Greece have announced new restrictions to curb surging infections in some of their largest cities, and Britain is considering new measures to tackle an “inevitable” second wave of COVID-19.

The UK has reported the fifth-largest number of deaths from COVID-19 in the world, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico. “We are now seeing a second wave coming in ... it is absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable, that we will see it in this country,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

England’s public health chief Yvonne Doyle said: “We’re seeing clear signs this virus is now spreading across all age groups and I am particularly worried by the increase … among older people. This could be a warning of far worse things to come.”