Biden Believes Washington Should Sell F-16s to Ankara

Photo credit; US Air Force

Noting his confidence that the needed congressional approval will be obtained, President Biden said on Thursday that the US should resume the delayed F-16s sale to Turkey.

Emphasizing that there is no quid pro quo linking the sale to Ankara’s approval for Finland and Sweden’s membership in NATO – any potential enlargement requires unanimous consent by NATO members – Biden added that they also should modernize Turkey’s outdated fleet of the same planes as well.

Biden’s declaration of support comes after Turkey surprisingly dropped weeks of opposition to Finland and Sweden’s applications to join the alliance during the NATO summit in Madrid, leaving its fellow alliance members speechless.

In a major breakthrough earlier this week, on the first day of the NATO summit, Turkey, Sweden, and Finland signed a memorandum agreeing to deepen counterterrorism cooperation and Turkey agreed to support their NATO membership bids, prompting the alliance to formally asked both countries to become members the following day. 

In 2019 Turkey was removed from the US’s F-35 joint strike fighter program over Washington’s concerns stemming from Ankara’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.

However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan informed last month that Ankara was in talks with Washington to buy F-16 fighter jets instead of the F-35 and stressed yesterday he would send a delegation to the US without delay to convince lawmakers to approve the sale swiftly.

Erdogan noted that despite Biden’s confidence, it’s necessary for Turkey to get support from both Democrats and Republicans for the F-16s sale, expressing hope that both Ankara and Washington will get a result that fits their friendship and solidarity.

Emphasizing that in politics, yesterday was yesterday, today is today and that a lot can change in 24 hours, Erdogan said in Madrid that Turkish-US relations have continued despite Ankara’s tense relations with its European partners.

However, there are also rumors that Turkey, which is an important NATO member in a strategically sensitive location, is actually holding up the NATO accession bids of Finland and Sweden to try and leverage concessions.

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