Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s desire to buy F-16 fighter jets from the United States in a call Monday, US President Joe Biden said, while Biden responded that Washington would like Ankara to join Sweden’s NATO. But was eager to see his objection.
The exchange came as Biden called Erdogan to congratulate him on his victory in Turkey’s presidential election on Sunday.
“I talked to Erdogan. I congratulated Erdogan. He still wants to do some work on the F-16. I told him we want to make a deal with Sweden, so let’s get it done. And so we have a Will be in touch with.” One more,” Biden told reporters before leaving the White House for Delaware.
“We’re going to talk more about it next week,” he said.
Bids for NATO membership must be approved by all NATO members. Both Turkey and Hungary have yet to approve Sweden’s bid.
Turkey has sought to buy $20 billion worth of F-16s and about 80 modernization kits from the United States, but the sale has stalled because of Ankara’s problematic human rights record and US Congressional objections to its Syria policy despite a Biden administration. Has repeatedly said that it supports sales.
A much smaller $259 million package, including avionics software upgrades for Turkey’s existing fleet of F-16 fighters, was approved by the US Congress earlier this year, days after Turkey ratified Finland’s NATO accession.
The Biden administration has repeatedly rejected any claim of any “reciprocity” between the sale and the expansion of NATO, although in January Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the US side had made it clear that NATO Approval of the bids will be viewed positively. Congress.
In a February letter to Biden, a bipartisan group of senators said Turkey’s failure to ratify accession protocols for Sweden and Finland, which were still waiting at the time, referred to the F-16 as “pending Will question the sale”.
A source familiar with the discussions said the United States had previously told Turkey that it would be difficult to approve the F-16 deal if Ankara did not give Sweden the green signal.
Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership last year, bypassing long-standing policies of military non-alignment following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Turkey ratified Finland’s NATO accession in late March, but continued to object to Sweden, saying Stockholm considers members of extremist groups to be terrorists. Hungary has also not yet approved Sweden’s bid.
Seeing Sweden join NATO by mid-July when the alliance is due to hold a leaders’ summit in Lithuania is one of the top priorities for Washington
The Turkish Presidency said in a brief statement on the call between Biden and Erdogan that the two leaders agreed to deepen cooperation on all aspects of their bilateral relationship, the importance of which it said was heightened in the face of regional and global challenges Is.
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