Turkiye’s reason for attempting to buy 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets is due to the United States’ delay in selling its F-16 fighter jets to Ankara, a Turkish Defence Ministry source has confirmed.
According to the Reuters news agency, the anonymous Turkish defence source told it that “Turkish air forces are in need of new aircraft. Our first choice is F-16s … But, considering the possibility that we might not get a positive response in this prolonged process, the Eurofighter Typhoon jets are the most suitable alternatives to F-16s”.
Turkiye first requested the $20 billion sale of 40 F-16 fighter jets from the US and 79 modernisation kits for its existing aircraft back in October 2021, but there has since been little progress on the issue. Although President Joe Biden’s administration has stated its support for the sale, many in the US Congress have objected to it on the grounds of Ankara’s human rights record and the fact that Turkiye’s Parliament has not yet ratified Sweden’s access into the NATO alliance.
Over the past year, Turkiye has been in talks with countries within the consortium that have manufactured the Eurofighter Typhoon jets, consisting of Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany. While most of those governments have approved the sale of 40 of the jets, Germany has insisted on refusing to give its approval, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unsuccessful in his attempt to gain that approval during his visit to Berlin last week.
The anonymous Turkish defence source’s comments to Reuters is a rare official acknowledgement of Ankara’s intentions of buying the Eurofighter jets as a direct result of the US’s delay in selling the F-16s, and comes after other anonymous officials reported last year that the Turkish government would seek to purchase the European warplanes if the American deal does not work out.