Just in: Turkey Seeks More Military Jets Beyond U.S. F-16 Deal

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.02 - 2024 7:25 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Turkey Seeks More Military Jets Beyond U.S. F-16 Deal.

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Turkey, having secured a deal with the United States for the purchase of F-16 fighter jets, is now expanding its military ambitions by approaching Germany for the acquisition of 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets. This move comes as part of Turkey's ongoing efforts to modernize its air force and maintain its strategic military capabilities.

According to Reuters, The U.S. agreement to sell F-16s to Turkey was seen as a significant step, with the deal being contingent on Turkey's support for Sweden's NATO membership, according to Democratic Senator Ben Cardin. However, Turkey's aspirations did not stop with the American jets. The country has expressed a keen interest in further bolstering its air force with additional aircraft, specifically targeting the Eurofighter Typhoon model, which is a product of a consortium involving the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

The quest for Eurofighters emerged as a contingency plan in November when doubts arose over the U.S.'s willingness to proceed with the F-16 sale. Despite initial opposition from Germany to such a sale, Turkey engaged in discussions with the UK and Spain, hoping to persuade Germany to reconsider.

Turkey's pursuit of modern fighter jets highlights its perceived need to upgrade its aerial combat capabilities. The F-16 deal marked a crucial development in Turkey's military procurement strategy, yet the pursuit of Eurofighters indicates a broader ambition to diversify its military assets and ensure compatibility with NATO standards.

The ratification of Sweden's NATO membership by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan removes Sweden's application as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Germany regarding the Eurofighter sale. Nonetheless, Turkey's proactive approach in seeking additional military aircraft underscores its commitment to strengthening its defense infrastructure amid evolving regional and global security challenges.

The acquisition of Eurofighters, while potentially introducing operational adjustments due to differences from the American systems, is viewed as feasible given the aircraft's NATO origins. This strategic move by Turkey reflects its intent to remain a key player within the Western defense industry and adapt to the interoperability standards of the alliance.

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