F-16: The Next Step Forward
By Özgür Ekşi
Opting for F-16s instead of F-35s is not a single straightforward decision. This choice emerged due to disruptions in Turkiye’s plans; F-35As were intended for the Turkish Air Force (TuRAF), replacing the F-4E 2020 Terminator. Turkiye inevitably responds to Greece's Air Force modernisation plans.
The current stage demands answers to questions about where these aircraft will be produced and assembled. Delivery schedules and costs will be pivotal factors. Having previously served as the final assembly line for F-16s and executed independent projects like the Özgür Project, Turkish Aerospace seems a suitable candidate.
Considering F-16s won’t fill the void left by the retiring F-4s, the question arises: Eurofighter or a return to Turkiye’s F-35 program? The answer was Eurofighter, in any case, until today. There is a candidate to become an alternative now.
The U.S. decision is significant in maintaining the balance between NATO allies Turkiye and Greece. Greece’s revisionist enlargement policy in the Aegean Sea awaits the day Turkiye cannot respond. The answer to the question, ‘Would Greece risk NATO for this?’ might be ‘It has left NATO before.”