The Joe Biden administration is in favor of the $20 billion sale. However, it has encountered opposition from several members of the U.S. Congress, including former Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairperson Bob Menendez, who has linked his support for the sale to Turkey’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership.
Turkey has informed NATO that the ratification of Sweden’s membership application will not be finalised at the alliance’s foreign ministers meeting scheduled for next week.
Finland and Sweden submitted NATO membership applications in May of the previous year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Despite Sweden’s conviction that it has made every effort to allay Turkey’s concerns, the fate of its NATO membership application now lies in the hands of legislators.
“The Turkish air forces are in need of new machinery.” F-16s are among our most cherished aircraft…Nevertheless, considering the fact that it is highly probable that we would not have a positive result due to the length of this lengthy operation, Eurofighter Typhoon jets are the most viable substitutes for F-16s,” the source explained.
They may be able to persuade Germany to abandon its objections,” he further stated.
A consortium of Germany, Britain, Italy, and Spain, represented by Airbus, BAE Systems, and Leonardo, constructs the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.
“Turkey’s requirement for a fighter jet with cutting-edge technology is not a secret in terms of regional power dynamics,” said Defence Analyst Tayfun Ozberk.
In order to put pressure on the Biden administration to persuade Congress to swiftly approve the sale of F-16s, he continued, it may have been necessary to purchase Eurofighters.
Kadir Has University international relations professor Serhat Güvenc asserts that the Eurofighter Typhoons are “virtually the last chance to keep Turkey in the Western defence industry.”
The Turkish Air Force’s adherence to the American system may give rise to operational complications in the event of an acquisition of Eurofighters. In spite of this, the Eurofighter is ultimately a collaborative effort between NATO members. Furthermore, he stated, “Therefore, interoperability ought not to be a consideration.”
As announced in its “12th Development Plan,” Turkey has increased its defence expenditure by 150 percent to TL 1.13 trillion for 2024. The country is also attempting to localise its defence industry.
By the 2030s, the nation intends to have upgraded its F-16 fleet with aircraft of the next generation, such as the KAAN.
Officials anticipate that the fifth-generation national combat aircraft, KAAN, which was publicly unveiled earlier this year, will acquire wings by the conclusion of the current calendar year.