TechTurkey seeks to purchase Eurofighter Typhoon planes. Germany opposes the deal

Turkey seeks to purchase Eurofighter Typhoon planes. Germany opposes the deal

Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4
Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4
Images source: © Royal Air Force | Jamie Hunter

11:22 AM EST, November 21, 2023

In the wake of losing the capacity to purchase F-35 planes, Turkey has been exploring other means of bolstering its aviation. Eurofighter Typhoon planes have emerged as a potential alternative; however, Germany is opposed to the transaction, which could hinder the prospect.

The Turkish Minister of Defense announced discussions about procuring 40 multi-purpose Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft from the UK to the parliament. These aircraft evolved through a joint effort of four European nations: Spain, Germany, the UK, and Italy.

The twin-engine aircraft was initially designated primarily as an air superiority fighter. As the design and production of newer Eurofighter models advanced, the plane's abilities grew, transforming it into a fully multi-purpose machine.

Until now, London and Madrid have agreed to exchange Eurofighters with Turkey. Italy's standpoint has not been solidified, but Berlin has strongly disapproved. The Turkish president's recent visit to Germany didn't alter this.

Among other reasons, the German dissent stems from concerns about human rights in Turkey, its position regarding Israel's conflict with Hamas, and the question of Sweden's admission to NATO.

Repercussions of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system purchase

The hunt for new aircraft in Turkey is an effort to supplement its air force's capabilities after the United States ousted Turkey from the F-35 aircraft production and development program in 2018.

The triggering factor for Washington's decision was Turkey's acquisition of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems, undertaken despite prior cautions and the fact that Turkey is a NATO member.

The decision was more based on the anxiety that the simultaneous operation of a key Western aircraft and a Russian anti-aircraft system could lead to Russia acquiring sensitive information about the F-35, rather than merely purchasing weapons from Russia.

Novel aircraft proposed for the Turkish air force

This situation has placed Turkey in a predicament where neighboring countries like Italy, Romania, Greece (with which Turkey shares conflict), or Israel - are procuring or planning to procure 5th-generation combat aircraft. To compensate for the emerging imbalance in airpower proficiency, Ankara started exploring alternatives to the F-35.

Among the alternatives are F-16C/D Block 70 and an upgrade package for the older F16s currently operated by Turkey. However, the Americans have opposed this transaction, too, due to Turkey's objection to Sweden's NATO membership. Another substitute could be the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The dilemma with Turkey obtaining Western aircraft rests on the risk of Ankara's eventual attempt to purchase new armaments from Russia. Regarding this concern, President Erdogan commented:

This statement coincided with Russia's vigorous attempts to market its 5th generation Su-57 aircraft (along with other models like Su-35S) during the Dubai Airshow 2023. However, limited interest in the aircraft from potential foreign buyers has not resulted in any orders so far.

Related content