A Berlin approval for sale of Eurofighter in Ankara not expected in the near future. This is mainly due to Erdogan himself, comments Ronald Maynardous.

Discussions about delivery of F-16 fighter jets has strained relations between Ankara and Washington for months – and at the same time hinder Sweden’s accession to NATO.

The annoyance of the Turkish government can hardly be overlooked: Ankara urgently needs modern weapons technology to modernize its outdated air force.

traditionally, the Turks are unilaterally dependent on the US for their fighter jets.

To overcome this situation, Ankara has been looking for alternatives for a long time. In November it became known that Turkey is negotiating with the UK and Spain for the delivery of 40 Eurofighter Typhoons. This state-of-the-art fighter aircraft is jointly manufactured by Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy. “The Eurofighter is a very good alternative and we want to buy it,” Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler said recently.

Ankara’s new interest in the European fighter jet has several motives: first, the Eurofighter is a proven aircraft not only in Europe, but also in the Arab world. Erdogan would also end his unilateral dependence on Washington. Finally, the publicly expressed interest in Eurofighters is a tactical maneuver and a message to the Americans that things can be done differently.

Parallel negotiations of this kind are quite common in international arms markets.

“The Middle East has changed since October 7”

The sale of the Eurofighter aircraft requires the approval of all members of the European consortium, namely the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy. The British and Spanish have already given the green light in the sale of Eurofighters in Ankara. Germany, however, has opposed such an agreement. According to reports Berlin is under intense pressure from the British to change its stance.

The recent announcement by German Foreign Minister Analena Burbock that Berlin to drop veto on Eurofighter sale to Saudi Arabia creates a new situation – with potentially far-reaching consequences.

For Germany, the shift means a change in strategy and possibly the end of its politics non-provision of arms to countries involved in international crises and wars. Due to its involvement in the civil war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia since 2018 was on the list of countries to which Berlin did not approve arms exports.

It is indicative – and has more than symbolic significance – that the German minister announced the change of policy in Jerusalem. Berlin’s new armaments policy is directly related to Israel and the war in Gaza. “The Middle East has changed since October 7”said Analena Burbock, which -we must not forget- he belongs to a political party that was considered pacifist and traditionally opposed to arms exports.

“Erdogan has insulted his allies several times”

But that is now a thing of the past: Berlin has reassessed Saudi Arabia’s role and is certifying it – verbatim – constructive role of Riyadh. According to the German rationale, this is also proven by the fact that Saudi warplanes shot down missiles fired by the Houthis in Yemen towards Israel.

Now that Berlin dropped its veto against Eurofighter supplies to Saudi Arabia, the question may soon arise if and when the same will happen with Turkey. As we already mentioned British and Spanish are in favor of selling Eurofighters to the Turks. The German aircraft industry would love a cooperation with Ankara.

What exactly is going on behind the scenes in this highly sensitive matter we are not in a position to know. However, a German government approval for the supply of Eurofighter fighters to Ankara should not be expected in the near future. This is mainly due to Erdogan himself. With his anything but pro-Western policy, the Turkish president has insulted his allies several times thereby blocking access to modern Western military technology.

The ongoing tensions between Ankara and NATOwhich are mainly due to Turkey’s insistence on its special geostrategic role, they do not favor agreements to deliver state-of-the-art weapons systems to that country.

We saw this in 2019, when Erdogan’s purchase of the Russian S 400 missile system led to its exclusion from the F 35 program. We are seeing this these days, as the delay in Turkey’s approval of Sweden’s NATO membership is holding up the delivery of the F-16s.

Until Turkey radically changes its policyit is unlikely that Berlin will give its approval for the sale of Eurofighters to Ankara.