Turkey began discussing buying 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets with European states after it saw that its request for F-16 fighter jets from the United States may not work out, Reuters reported, citing a Turkish defense ministry source on Thursday.
Defense Minister Yaşar Güler said last week that Turkey was in talks with Britain and Spain to buy Eurofighter Typhoon jets, though Germany objected to the idea.
Güler was holding talks on the issue with his British counterpart, Grant Shapps, in Ankara on Thursday, the source said. Turkey wants to buy the most advanced, newly built version of the Eurofighter, he added.
NATO member Turkey requested in October 2021 40 Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-16 fighters and 79 modernization kits for its existing warplanes.
President Joe Biden’s administration supports the $20 billion sale, but there have been objections in the US Congress over Turkey’s delaying of NATO enlargement and its human rights record.
Turkey has informed NATO that the ratification of Sweden’s membership bid will not be completed by the alliance’s foreign ministers meeting next week, further complicating matters.
“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,” the source said.
“The [officials from] the UK say that they could help convince Germany to back down from their objections,” he added.
The Eurofighter Typhoon jets are built by a consortium of Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain, represented by Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo.