Su-35, Typhoon or Rafale could replace F-16 near the Bosphorus

ANKARA, TURKEY — Turkey is awaiting a decision from the US on whether it will receive the requested new F-16 Block 70 fighter jets. Washington has not yet made a decision, and negotiations between Turkish representatives and the US Congress continue. There are opponents in Congress of a possible sale of American fighter jets.

France bought new Rafales to replace the 'Greek' fighters
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Washington’s hesitation worries Ankara. In 2022, restrictions on the sale of aircraft to Turkey fell. US President Mr. Joe Biden even took personal responsibility to his colleague Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan to convince Congress to sell the 40 fighter jets needed to Turkey.

At the end of last year and the beginning of this year, the mood has hardly changed, but now some congressmen clearly state that they will not allow the sale of F-16s to Turkey.

What does Turkey think?

Along the Bosphorus, there are both proposals for reasonable dialogue and threats to choose another fighter. Not only does Turkey need new fighter jets, but it also needs to continue modernizing its existing F-16 fleet. “We expect that common sense will prevail, that the United States will assess the problem as a whole, make a decision and act accordingly… We also say that the F-16 is not the only option,” the Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar said today, February 5.

F-16 Block 30 upgrades with new Turkish MGB mission computer
Photo credit: Turkish Air Force

According to the minister, Turkish representatives continue to conduct negotiations on the F-16 with the US Congress. He added that in its policy, the Turkish authorities adhere to the slogan “Strong Turkey, strong Turkish armed forces, strong NATO, strong alliance”.

Not for the first time

Minister Akar’s statement is another statement by a senior Turkish politician that hints that the US is not the only option before Turkey. President Mr. Erdogan himself has repeatedly cited countries such as Britain and France as being able to supply 4th generation fighter jets.

Egyptian Su-35 Flanker-E fighters are going to Iran in March
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan also emphasized in his speech that if London and Paris do not agree to sell to Turkey, Moscow, and Beijing are always open options. It is not the first time that the Turkish president has used the “Russia” card in front of his Western allies, stressing that Ankara is not afraid to buy Russian aircraft, especially after buying Russian air defense systems.

For the first time

However, for the first time, Ankara has implicated Beijing as a possible aircraft supplier. This is not surprising, especially against the background of good relations between Turkey and Pakistan. Pakistan has been involved in JF-17 development with China for years. China, for its part, has something to offer Turkey – the J-10, J-11, and J-15 fighters.

Although China is too extreme an option to choose a supplier, Turkey cannot rule out this possibility. In recent years, Turkey has seriously developed its aviation military industry. China’s involvement in a possible future supply could mean technological data transfer in both directions.

Chinese J-10 and JF-17 face the Su-35 in the battle for Iran
Photo credit: Wautom

According to some, the “military trade” between Turkey and China is “too great a distance”. However, things could quickly change after Ankara invited Islamabad to participate in the fifth-generation fighter jet project of the Turkish company TAI. The distance can be quickly reduced if the USA, France, and Great Britain refused.


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