Turkey may consider acquiring Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets if the country’s request to buy 40 American F-16s doesn’t go through, Middle East Eye revealed, citing sources.
Turkish government officials consider the Typhoon — developed by a consortium of European manufacturers — as the second-best interim option for the air force until its indigenous fifth-generation TF-X fighter aircraft is inducted, the outlet wrote, citing a person familiar with the consultations.
“The Typhoons are very good, in excellent quality,” the outlet quoted the source as saying.
“They could be a stop-gap option until we get the fifth generation and locally produced TF-X in our hands, of course, if we cannot get the F-16s.”
Turkey’s F-16 Request
Ankara made a request to buy the F-16s in 2021 after the US administration expelled it from the F-35 aircraft program two years earlier following the country’s purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system despite US warnings.
Washington argued that Moscow could secretly acquire the aircraft’s crucial stealth technology through the S-400 and the system is not compatible with NATO systems.
Turkey invested $1.4 billion in the program and ordered 100 F-35s.
Replying to a letter from over 50 bipartisan Congress members opposing the proposed F-16 deal over Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan‘s “lack of commitment to NATO” and his “vast human rights abuses,” the State Department described Turkey’s defense ties with Ukraine as “an important deterrent to malign influence in the region.”
Deal Still Uncertain
Citing sources, Middle East Eye wrote that the US administration might allow the deal to go through in Congress after the Turkish presidential elections — scheduled in June 2023 — as it didn’t want to be seen doing favors for Erdogan.
However, the outlet added, Turkey’s recent objections to Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership aspirations over “security concerns” and Erdogan’s warning that the country may launch a military operation against Kurdish militants in Syria could complicate the deal.