Turkish Defense Industry Minister Ismail Demir said his country was seriously considering buying Russian Su-35 fighter jets if the US deal to buy F-16 fighters falls through.

Earlier, the United States sent an official notice to Ankara about the exclusion from the supply program of the latest F-35 fighters in connection with Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems. Washington canceled the joint memorandum with Turkey and signed it with the remaining seven partners in the F-35 project, namely the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, Canada and Norway.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the US proposal to purchase other fighters, but not the fifth generation. Turkey has shifted its focus to buying F-16s to modernize its aging fleet of US military aircraft after being excluded from a program to help build and purchase the next-generation F-35 fighter jet.