Turkey urged the U.S. to expedite the sale of F-16 fighter jets during a meeting in Washington between Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his U.S. counterpart Antony Blinken.
According to the joint statement issued after the meeting, they discussed “strengthening the U.S.-Türkiye defense partnership, including modernization of Türkiye’s F-16 fleet.”
The Turkish top diplomat said his country expects the US to approve the sale of F-16s, noting that the purchase is in line with the “joint strategic interests” of both nations.
“As we said together before, this is not only for Türkiye but also important for NATO and for the United States as well,” Cavusoglu said, adding that Ankara expects Washington’s approval, in line with joint strategic interests of both countries.
The Biden administration has expressed its support for the sale of the jets to Türkiye, despite opposition from the U.S. Congress.
F-16 sale “not related” to Sweden, Finland joining NATO
According to Daily Sabah, in speaking to reporters at the Turkish Embassy after a meeting at the State Department, Cavusoglu said the U.S. side has not provided a date on when they would send a formal notification to Congress for the F-16 sale.
He highlighted that Turkey’s request to purchase F-16 jets and the NATO bids of Sweden and Finland are unrelated. He also added that the U.S. Congress should likewise consider these two separate and unconnected issues.
“The U.S. side said developments regarding Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids may have a positive impact on F-16 sale but they also said the two issues are not completely interconnected,” he told reporters.
Discussed many important issues with Turkish Foreign Minister @MevlutCavusoglu as part of the U.S.-Turkiye Strategic Mechanism. I look forward to continued coordination on @NATO’s response to Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, Syria, and other challenges. pic.twitter.com/0zVYXYt2Od
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) January 18, 2023
For the full statement released by the U.S. and Turkey, click on the link.
Turkey first requested to purchase forty brand new F-16 Block, seventy jets, and seventy-nine modernization kits for its older F-16s in October 2021 in a deal valued at twenty billion dollars.
It opted for more F-16s since it had been removed from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program in 2019 and barred from buying any of the jets after it received S-400 air defense missile systems that it had bought from Russia. Ankara had plans to buy up to a hundred F-35s for its air force prior to this.
The potential F-16 sale to Turkey has been met with opposition in the U.S. Congress. Robert Menendez, a democrat senator and Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has repeatedly said that he will not approve the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.