ANKARA — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Oct. 17 the United States has proposed the sale of a batch of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey to compensate Turkey’s $1.4 billion investment in the U.S.-led multinational F-35 program.
Erdogan has been pressing the Biden administration either to deliver the two F-35s built for the Turkish military or return Turkey’s $1.4 billion payment for the aircraft.
Turkey’s current fleet of more than 200 F-16s will be phased out by 2035. Nearly 100 aircraft in the fleet await upgrades.
Turkey also is struggling to build the TF-X, its first indigenous fighter jet, and is aiming to fly the stealth aircraft in 2025 or 2026.
Burak Ege Bekdil is a Turkey correspondent for Defense News. He has written for Hurriyet Daily News, and worked as Ankara bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires and CNBC-e television. He is also a fellow at the Middle East Forum and regularly writes for the Middle East Quarterly and Gatestone Institute.