According to the state department, the Biden administration has stated that it has approved a deal to provide F-16 airplanes to Turkey for a total of $US23 billion. This comes after Turkey ratified Sweden’s membership participation in NATO.
It is now the responsibility of the Department of State to inform Congress of the agreement, as well as of a separate sale of forty F-35s to Greece for a total of $8.6 billion.
The Turkish government has announced in a press release that the country will receive forty new F-16s as well as improvements to seventy-nine of the fighters that are already in its fleet.
According to Agence France-Presse, a spokesman for the United States government stated that the United States did not give its approval to the transaction until Turkey’s instruments of ratification of Sweden’s membership had arrived in Washington. This statement highlights the extremely delicate nature of the discussions.
🇺🇸 F-16 for turkey 🇹🇷
US approves $23bn sale of F-16 planes.
— Aditya Rathore (@imAdityaRathore) January 27, 2024
After more than a year of delays that interfered with western efforts to demonstrate commitment in the face of Russia’s assault on Ukraine, the Turkish parliament finally accepted Sweden’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Tuesday.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the president of Turkey, initially raised objections to Sweden’s desire to join NATO due to what he saw to be Stockholm’s acceptance of Kurdish parties that The Turkish government considers to be “terrorist” organizations.
A response was provided by Sweden, which strengthened its anti-terrorism legislation and took additional security measures in response to Erdogan’s demands.
On the other hand, Erdogan then moved to an unfulfilled promise made by the United States to send a batch of F-16 fighter fighters. This promise has been faced with opposition in Congress because to Turkey’s perceived reversal on human rights and standoffs with Greece, which is also a member of European Union.
Ben Cardin, a Democrat who serves as the powerful chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, announced on Friday that he would go ahead and allow Turkey to purchase F-16s.
“My approval of Turkey’s request to purchase F-16 aircrafts has been contingent on Turkey’s approval of Sweden’s membership in NATO,” I said. Nevertheless, let there be no doubt about it: I did not arrive at this conclusion on a whim,” he stated.
In order for the United States to reach an agreement with Turkey, it was necessary for Athens to refrain from obstructing the sale. At the same time, Greece was provided with more advanced F-35s.
In light of the fact that Turkey’s air force has been expelled from the F-35 joint strike fighter program led by the United States in 2019 due to Erdogan’s decision to purchase an advanced Russian missile defense system, the country’s aging air force would undoubtedly profit from the acquisition of new F-16s.
As a result of Turkey’s approval of Sweden’s membership in NATO, Hungary is the only country that has not yet joined the organization. This is because Sweden and Finland initiated the process of joining NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, sent an invitation to his Swedish counterpart to visit Budapest in order to discuss the proposal. However, there were indications that tensions were developing between the two countries.