The US State Department currently does not confirm or comment on reports that Turkey has asked the US to purchase 40 F-16 fighters, as well as to modernize about 80 American aircraft of this type that Ankara has, the State Department’s press service said.
“As for the F-16, this is the policy of the State Department – we do not publicly confirm or comment on the proposed arms sale until it is officially notified to Congress,” the press service stated.
Ankara’s intention to buy F-16 fighters from the US was first reported by Reuters.
According to his sources, the deal is estimated at billions of dollars but is still being studied by the State Department and the relevant government agency that is part of the Pentagon, which is responsible for the supply of military equipment and weapons abroad under intergovernmental contracts.
At the same time, Reuters reminded that after the possible approval of these structures, the deal may be blocked by Congress.
Both Republicans and Democrats have called on the Biden administration to put pressure on Turkey regarding the purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system.
Moscow signed a contract for the supply of S-400 air defense systems to Ankara in 2017. Turkey was the first NATO country to acquire these systems from Russia.
Ankara’s decision provoked a sharply negative reaction from Washington and the alliance as a whole. The US hasn’t stopped trying to get Turkey to abandon the idea of buying Russian air defense systems.
Due to the fact that Ankara does not give in to pressure, Washington excluded it from its program for the production of the fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bomber.
In addition, for a long time, the US threatened Turkey with the introduction of a number of unilateral sanctions for the purchase of the S-400, but was in no hurry to do so, because they feared a further aggravation of relations with a key NATO ally, and Ankara warned that it would not leave the application of such restrictions unanswered.
In December 2020, Washington nevertheless introduced restrictive measures against Turkey.