Turkey awaits US approval for supply of F-16 Fighters: Minister
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tackled bilateral cooperation and the Ukrainian crisis during their meeting.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, on Wednesday, that Ankara is awaiting US approval for a request for F-16 fighter jets.
Cavusoglu arrived in the United States on Wednesday and met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, discussing bilateral cooperation and the Ukrainian crisis.
During the meeting with Blinken, Cavusoglu said, "We will also address significant topics about bilateral defense cooperation. In particular, our F-16 request. And as we said before, this is not only for Turkey but also important for NATO and the United States as well, so we expect approval in the line with our joint strategic interests."
Commenting on Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto's statement that the agreement between the US and Turkey on F-16s could contribute to Finland's NATO accession, Cavusoglu said that the F-16 agreement should proceed separately to Finland and Sweden's NATO accession.
Turkey was kicked out of the F-35 program in April 2021 after purchasing Russia's S-400 air defense systems. Later that year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Turkey had received a US offer to purchase F-16 fighter jets, which were one generation behind the F-35s. The US Congress has been discussing whether to impose restrictions on jet sales in its annual defense budget bill for fiscal 2023, while the US State Department has been attempting to persuade senators that the arrangement is in Washington's best interests.
Sweden and Finland requested NATO membership on May 18, three months after Russia launched its special military operation in the Donbass. It is worth noting that all NATO countries have previously ratified their accession protocols except Hungary and Turkey.
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