Defense Minister Yaşar Güler has expressed optimism about the ongoing negotiations with the United States regarding Türkiye’s request to purchase new F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits.
Güler announced that technical meetings between the two nations have been successfully concluded, emphasizing Türkiye’s expectation for positive and concrete steps in the near future.
“I hope that there will be concrete developments in the process ahead,” Güler told a year-end evaluation meeting with media representatives on Dec. 16.
Türkiye has officially requested to buy 40 new F-16s and 79 modernization kits from the United States. However, the formal approval of the sale is pending in the U.S. Congress, facing objections that have led to a delay in the process.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan consistently hints at leveraging Ankara’s influence in NATO expansion discussions, asserting that the Turkish parliament would not ratify Sweden’s bid unless the U.S. Congress approves the sale of the fighter jets.
Türkiye has consistently urged Sweden to take stricter measures against terror groups, specifically the PKK and FETÖ, the group responsible for the failed 2016 coup. Despite legislative changes in Sweden’s anti-terror laws since applying for NATO membership, Türkiye insists on seeing concrete and practical steps taken to combat terrorism.
Güler also reiterated Türkiye’s interest in Eurofighter jets as an alternative. “While the F-16 procurement and modernization process continues, the only aircraft we are considering is the Eurofighter, which we see as the best alternative and highly effective,” he stated.
However, Germany, a key producer of the Eurofighter, has yet to agree to Türkiye’s purchase of 40 advanced jets. Local media reports suggest that Germany’s reservations are linked to concerns over Türkiye’s natural gas drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
Güler emphasized the importance of the U.K.’s support and approach on the issue as “an example for other NATO allies.” The Eurofighter is jointly produced by Germany, the U.K., Spain and Italy in a consortium.