Turkey’s 2024 Defence Budget, which includes plans to purchase Eurofighter Typhoon jets from the UK and Spain, passed through the parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee and was accepted by a majority vote on Friday, amid scrutiny into the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Turkish army.
Defence Minister Yaşar Güler announced plans to purchase 40 Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft. Güler stated that they have reached an agreement with the UK and Spain, but are still working to convince Germany.
“We are working on the procurement,” Güler said at a parliamentary meeting in Ankara. “Now the UK and Spain are trying to convince Germany, although we are not negotiating with Germany. If possible, we are planning to buy 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets.”
According to a Bloomberg report on Thursday, which quotes Turkish officials with knowledge of the situation, President Erdoğan is likely to urge German Chancellor Scholz during their meeting in Berlin on Friday to remove obstacles to the sale of these jets, which are crucial for modernising Turkey’s outdated air force.
Germany, as part of a consortium with three other nations, manufactures the Eurofighter. However, German officials, as reported by Bloomberg, do not anticipate Chancellor Scholz agreeing to Erdogan’s request. This reluctance is attributed to the ongoing diplomatic tensions between Turkey and its NATO allies. These tensions stem from Turkey’s purchase of air defence systems from Russia, its military operations against Kurdish forces in Syria and its hesitancy in endorsing Sweden’s NATO membership.
President Erdoğan’s labelling of Israel as a “terrorist state” and his description of Hamas as the elected leaders and defenders of the Gaza Strip have further complicated matters, according to German officials quoted by Bloomberg.
The budget had allocated 1 trillion 133 billion 500 million lira for “defence and security” and was anticipated to be used for “warfare”.
Turkey has expressed interest in purchasing US F-16 fighter jets, but this request is currently on hold.
At the Turkish Parliament’s Budget Committee meeting on Thursday, Sezai Temelli, MP for Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP), raised concerns over previous Defence Minister Hulusi Akar’s statements regarding the use of chemical weapons and called for a democratic resolution to regional conflicts, including the Kurdish and Palestinian issues.