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Turkey still interested in Eurofighters despite progress on US F-16s

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Turkey is still interested in buying 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets, a Turkish defence ministry official said on Thursday after the United States advanced the $23 billion sale of its F-16 fighter jets to Ankara.

A Eurofighter EF-2000 fighter aircraft, Reuters/Borja Suarez

Turkey is still interested in buying 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets, a Turkish defence ministry official said on Thursday after the United States advanced the $23 billion sale of its F-16 fighter jets to Ankara.

In November, Turkey said the country was in talks with Britain and Spain to buy Typhoons, though Germany objected the idea. At the time, a Turkish defence ministry source said talks had begun after Ankara recognised its request for F-16 jets from the U.S., first made in October 2021, might not work out.

Last week U.S. President Joe Biden's administration formally notified Congress of its intention to proceed with the sale of 40 Lockheed Martin F-16s and nearly 80 modernisation kits to Turkey, a day after Ankara fully completed ratification of the NATO membership of Sweden.

Although it does not expect Congress to block the F-16 sale, Turkey still wants to buy Eurofighter Typhoon jets, a Turkish defence ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We are still interested, we expect the consortium member Germany's positive approach on this issue," the official said.

The Eurofighter Typhoon jets are built by a consortium of Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain, represented by Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo.

Turkey, which is keen to upgrade its air force, is also developing its own national combat aircraft KAAN, in cooperation with BAE.

Reporting by Huseyin Hayatsever

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