U.S. progresses on F-16 sale to Turkey amid NATO talks

The U.S. is actively facilitating the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, separate from Sweden's NATO accession process, as confirmed by State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. This move coincides with ongoing negotiations and legislative steps in the Turkish parliament concerning Sweden's NATO membership.

Publication: 04.01.2024 - 13:49
U.S. progresses on F-16 sale to Turkey amid NATO talks
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The U.S. is actively working on the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey and anticipates Sweden's NATO accession, according to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. Miller noted the recent progress in the Turkish parliament's foreign affairs commission and expressed optimism about the final vote on Sweden's NATO membership.

"We are diligently handling the F-16 sale to Turkey, independent of Sweden's NATO accession, although some Congress members see them as linked," Miller stated in response to a question from an Anadolu reporter. He did not specify when the State Department would formally notify Congress of the sale.

Miller acknowledged congressional hurdles related to Turkey's past actions, which the U.S. is trying to navigate. "The ratification of Sweden’s NATO accession by Turkey could positively influence progress on the F-16 issue," he added.

Last week, legislation favoring Sweden's NATO membership moved forward in the Turkish parliament, with only one general assembly vote pending for Turkey’s approval. This development followed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's signing and submission of Sweden's NATO protocol to parliament in October.

While Turkey ratified Finland's NATO membership in March, it has awaited similar compliance from Sweden with a June 2022 trilateral memorandum addressing Ankara's security concerns.

Turkey seeks to acquire the latest F-16 Block 70 aircraft from the U.S., along with 79 modernization kits to upgrade its existing fleet to the Block 70 level. Despite the Biden administration's support for the F-16 sale, some Capitol Hill lawmakers oppose it, linking the deal to Turkey's stance on Sweden's NATO bid.