Turkey Seeks to Bypass U.S. and Buy Weapons from UK

Turkey Seeks to Bypass U.S. and Buy Weapons from UK

As the Turkish government faces roadblocks in procuring weapons from the United States, due to punitive measures enacted by the U.S. government, they have begun exploring new routes, including a multibillion dollar deal with the United Kingdom.

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Turkish defense minister Hulusi Akar and his British counterpart, Ben Wallace, met in London on Sunday to discuss the possible sale of a large shipment of weapons, including fighters, transport aircraft and naval ships.

Sources close to the meeting told the Middle East Eye that during their meeting Akar and Wallace discussed the possibility of Ankara purchasing Eurofighter Typhoons, C-130J Super Hercules and Type 23 frigates. Turkey is also seeking new engines for their M60T main battle tanks.

The sources note that nothing has been official and negotiations are still taking place.

This comes as the United States recently announced they would cancel their deal with Turkey to upgrade their existing F-16 fleet and provide additional modernized aircraft, unless Turkey drop its requirements for Sweden to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Several U.S. lawmakers have openly said they do not support Turkey or the selling of weapons to Turkey to support their aggression toward the Kurds or Greeks.

Despite the negotiations, Turkey would largely prefer the F-16s as they are already integrated and planned into Turkish military strategy, with a hypothetical Eurofighter Typhoon replacement entirely overhauling the Turkish air force, requiring new parts, technical skills, and training for pilots and crew.

It’s also being reported that the U.S. is coming down officially on Greece’s side in the recent Aegean tension with planned sales of F-35 Lightning II, an aircraft which would far out perform anything the Turks can field.

The United States and several others put export bans and sanctions on the Turkish government in 2019 due to their invasion of Syria and attack on NATO-allied Kurdish militias. Since then, Turkey has played the fence between Russian and U.S. weapons, with the latest shakeup over Swedish approval to NATO straining the alliance further. Regardless, the United Kingdom completely removed it’s restrictions on the export of weapons to Turkey in May of 2022.

Joshua Paulo
Joshua Paulo
Combining a Criminal Justice and International Relations background, Josh boasts years of experience in various forms of analysis and freelance journalism. He currently spearheads a team of professionals committed to delivering unbiased reporting to provide the public and private sector with accurate and insightful information. Josh serves as Atlas's Director of News.
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