ANKARA, February 1. /TASS/. Purchasing new F-16 fighter jets from the US and modernizing Turkey’s existing fleet does not come with any strings attached, a source in the Turkish Defense Ministry told reporters.
“The approval process in the US Congress of our request to purchase 40 new F-16 jets and modernize the existing 79 F-16 jets, their ammunition and equipment began on January 26. As soon as we receive the corresponding approval letter, we will start working on the implementation schedule and the cost of the project will be clearly defined. Moreover, contrary to the claims of some Greek news outlets, the issue of the purchase and modernization of F-16 jets does not come with any conditions,” the TRT TV channel quoted the source as saying. Such conditions could be, for example, a ban on the use of the aircraft in certain regions or operations.
Commenting on Turkey’s plans around the F-35 project, the source said that “there are no changes in the positions of either country at the moment and the US statements at this stage should be considered as a declaration of goodwill.” Earlier, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the US and Turkey are discussing the possibility of reviving their partnership to produce American F-35 fighter jets, but only if Ankara promises not to use Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems.
Speaking about the prospects of Turkey receiving Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, the source said that “Ankara’s request still stands.” “We are waiting for Germany to give the go-ahead on this issue as it is a member country of the consortium. Negotiations and work are ongoing,” he said.
The Defense Ministry announced plans to buy Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets in mid-November 2023 at a military budget hearing in parliament. Ankara intends to buy 40 European-made Eurofighter jets, 20 initially and 20 at a later stage. Germany, a member of the consortium that produces the Eurofighter, has not yet approved the deal. According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, the United Kingdom and Spain are not opposed to doing such a deal.