Berlin would block the purchase of 40 Eurofighters Typhoon by Turkey

Relations between London and Berlin risk becoming sour again, after the episode of German refusal concerning the sale of 48 Eurofighters Typhoon to Saudi Arabia. Indeed, according to statements by the Turkish Minister of Defense, Yasar Guler, the German authorities are this time blocking the negotiations initiated by Ankara with London and Madrid, for the sale of 40 European fighters.

Although it has the largest air force in NATO, outside the United States, with almost 600 aircraft including 290 combat aircraft, the Turkish inventory is now aging, with a fighter fleet made up of 240 F -16 C/D to Block 52 standard, as well as around fifty F-4E Phantom IIs.

The challenge of modernizing the Turkish air forces

Ankara, however, lacks options to respond, in the short term, to this challenge, handicapped in particular by its exclusion from the American F-35 program following the acquisition of a Russian S-400 anti-aircraft battery in 2019. In addition, following its military intervention in Libya, then that in northern Syria against the Kurdish allies of the West facing the Islamic State, the American Congress took a restrictive guideline vis-à-vis the export of arms to Turkey, blocking the sale of F-16 Block 70 and upgrade kits to standard.

F-16 Turkish Air Force
With almost 250 F-16 C/Ds, the Turkish Air Force is the largest operator of the Lockheed-Martin single-engine fighter after the United States.

From then on, and while awaiting the arrival of the nationally designed fighter, the Kaan, from the TFX program, Ankara is forced to try to find alternative solutions, to ensure the transition from an operational point of view, while for its part, Greece has acquired three squadrons of F-16V, a squadron of Rafale and a future F-35A squadron.

However, the options are few for the Turkish air forces. In the absence of an agreement with the United States, it is impossible to turn to American manufacturers, but also to the South Korean FA-50, the Indian Tejas or the Swedish Gripen, the aircraft being equipped with F turbojets. -414 Americans. The option of Rafale French is also excluded, Paris having taken up the cause of Athens for several years, while relations with Ankara are tense, particularly due to the Syrian and Libyan crises.

For a time, Ankara held out the possibility of turning towards Russia, and its Su-35s and Su-57s, or even towards China. However, if the American reaction had already been virulent against Ankara after the purchase of a single S-400 battery, the risks for Turkey of turning to these countries far exceed those to which President Erdogan seems to be ready to assume today.

In fact, when London opened the door to Ankara, with the help of Madrid, for the acquisition of Eurofighter fighters Typhoon, for Ankara it was not only an interesting option, but above all the only option that could be implemented quickly to partially modernize its air forces, and respond to the arrival of Rafale within the Hellenic Air Force.

Germany's reserves for the export of Turkish Eurofighters

Si London and Madrid have been very proactive in supporting the sale of the 40 Typhoon in Ankara, ignoring, in passing, the multiple tensions orchestrated by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean in recent years, particularly against Cyprus and Greece, this is, obviously, not the case for Berlin.

Euro Fighter typhoon Assembly line
The Eurofighter assembly line Typhoon in Great Britain will have to be closed in 2028 for lack of new orders

Indeed, according to the Turkish defense minister, Yasar Guler, the negotiations around this program would, today, be blocked by the German authorities, as was the case a few weeks ago, concerning the lifting of the option regarding the 48 Typhoon for the Saudi Air Force.


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