Turkey and Spain discuss aircraft carrier and submarine sales

Turkey, Ankara (AP) —Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that he would like to strengthen defense cooperation with NATO’s ally Spain through the purchase of a second carrier and perhaps a submarine.

Prime Minister Erdogan said Turkey and Spain are already cooperating in the construction of Spanish assault vessels.

“The first aircraft carrier was not a large aircraft carrier. Prime Minister Erdogan agreed to build a large aircraft carrier at a joint press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez,” he said.

“And perhaps we will (cooperate) enter for the submarine.”

“There’s a lot you can do in the defense industry, including armed and unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles,” Erdogan said without elaboration.

Prime Minister Erdogan and Sanchez previously oversaw the signing of six agreements covering cooperation in renewable energy, disaster response and sports.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Erdogan declined to comment on reports that Russia has begun transferring technology for the S-400 missile defense system to Turkey following the sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Turkey in 2017.

The United States strongly opposed Turkey’s purchase of Russian technology and expelled Ankara from the F-35 fighter program. It also imposed sanctions on several Turkish defense officials.

Other NATO allies in Washington and Turkey claim that the S-400 poses a threat to the F-35 project. Turkey rejects the argument.