Türkiye's Pursuit of F-35 Refund and Eurofighter Acquisition

Türkiye’s Pursuit of F-35 Refund and Eurofighter Acquisition

Türkiye remains steadfast in its efforts to seek reimbursement for the F-35 fighter jet funds while simultaneously exploring the procurement of Eurofighter Typhoons, according to a senior defense official.

Adm. Zeki Aktürk, the Defense Ministry’s Public Relations Adviser, stated that negotiations with the U.S. regarding the F-35 fighter jets were ongoing. Despite the unchanged positions of both countries, Türkiye is hopeful to recover the funds paid for the jets.

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Background on F-35 Purchase and Sanctions

Türkiye initially sought to acquire Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jets. However, due to sanctions imposed under CAATSA and its purchase of S-400s from Russia, Türkiye was removed from the F-35 program in 2019. This move was based on Washington’s concern that the S-400 air missile defense systems posed a risk to the advanced fighter jet.

Demand for Reimbursement

Türkiye had ordered around 100 F-35s, with its companies involved in building approximately 900 parts for the jet. The country has consistently demanded reimbursement for the payment made for these jets and has also shown interest in purchasing F-16 warplanes and modernization kits to upgrade its existing fleet.

Recent Developments and Diplomatic Efforts

After a prolonged process, the U.S. Congress approved the sale of new F-16s and kits to Türkiye. U.S. Ambassador Jeff Flake highlighted the unresolved issue of the S-400s but expressed the desire to find a solution. Discussions regarding Türkiye’s potential return to the F-35 program are ongoing, contingent upon resolving the S-400 issue.

Focus on Homegrown Next-Generation Warplane “KAAN”

Aktürk emphasized Türkiye’s focus on its domestically developed next-generation warplane, “KAAN,” which conducted its inaugural flight recently. This development marks Türkiye’s advancement in upgrading its air force and reducing external dependency.

Türkiye has initiated discussions to purchase Eurofighter Typhoon jets from Britain and Spain. Despite objections from Germany, Türkiye maintains its interest in Eurofighters and urges alignment with NATO principles and common security perspectives.


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