ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that his country hopes to increase defense cooperation with NATO ally Spain through the purchase of a second aircraft carrier and possibly a submarine.
Erdogan said Turkey and Spain had already cooperated on the construction of a Spanish assault ship.
“The first aircraft carrier was not a large-scale one. We have agreed on the construction of a large scale (carrier,)” Erdogan said at a joint news conference with visiting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
“And perhaps, we will also enter (cooperation) for a submarine.”
“There is so much we can do in the defense industry, including (concerning) armed and unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles,” Erdogan said without elaborating.
Erdogan and Sanchez earlier oversaw the signing of six agreements, covering cooperation in renewable energy, disaster response and sports.
Erdogan, meanwhile, refused to comment on reports that Russia had begun transferring technology to Turkey for its S-400 missile defense systems, following the controversial sale of the anti-aircraft missiles to Turkey in 2017.
The United States strongly opposed Turkey’s purchase of the Russian technology and pushed Ankara out of its F-35 fighter jet program. It also imposed sanctions on several Turkish defense officials.
Washington and Turkey’s other NATO allies insist that S-400s pose a threat to the F-35 project. Turkey rejects that argument.