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Turkey and the United States sign an agreement for the sale of F-16 fighter jets

Turkey and the United States sign an agreement for the sale of F-16 fighter jets
Turkey and the United States sign an agreement for the sale of F-16 fighter jets

 


Turkey and the United States signed a contract for the sale of F-16 fighter jets following Washington's approval of the agreement after several months of negotiations, Turkish Defense Ministry sources said.

“The contract has been signed and delegations from both parties are negotiating the details,” ministry sources said, reported by AFP and Reuters.

As part of the agreement, Turkey will receive 40 new F-16 fighter jets and benefit from the modernization of 79 of its existing fleet.

The US executive gave the green light at the end of January to the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey for 23 billion dollars, just days after Ankara ratified Sweden's membership in the Organization of the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO). The United States was waiting for the instruments of Turkey's ratification of Sweden's membership in the North Atlantic Alliance to be physically deposited in Washington.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had blocked Sweden's entry into NATO for many months due to Sweden's rapprochement with Kurdish opposition elements considered terrorists by the Turkish regime, had also conditioned the Sweden's adherence to the “simultaneous” approval by the United States of the sale of F-16 fighter jets to its country. It is worth remembering in this case that for a country to join NATO, there must be unanimity of all NATO members and that, in the case of Sweden, the approval of Ankara was lacking.

Turqua President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - PHOTO/FILE
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – PHOTO/FILE

As proof of this good feeling, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to travel to Washington in July to attend a NATO summit, an entity in which Turkey has great influence due to the size of the Turkish army, which gives it great value within the Atlantic Alliance.. The Turkish leader was due to meet US President Joe Biden last month for what would have been his first meeting at the White House, but the talks were postponed due to scheduling issues.

The US State Department hailed the deal on social media as “a major step forward” in Turkey's acquisition of advanced fighter jets. The ministry itself emphasized the importance of selling the “most advanced F-16s, available only to the closest allies and partners.”

The sale of these F-16s underlines the good understanding between the United States and Turkey in the field of security and defense, since, as the US State Department has pointed out, these planes are reserved only for close allies.

Following legal proceedings, The State Department informed Congress of the deal in January, as well as a separate sale of 40 F-35 fighter jets to Greece for $8.6 billion, although the F-35 deal -16 was only approved when Washington confirmed that Turkey was allowing Sweden to join NATO. .

The NATO logo is seen during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council during the NATO Defense Ministers' Session, with Sweden as a guest, at Alliance Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, February 15, 2024 - REUTERS/JOHANNA GERON
The NATO logo is seen during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council during the NATO Defense Ministers' Session, with Sweden as guest, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium , February 15, 2024. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

The Turkish parliament ratified Sweden's membership in January, after more than a year of delay due to political clashes between Ankara and Stockholm.

In April 2021, the United States excluded Turkey from the F-35 aircraft program, more advanced than the F-16, because it had purchased S-400 air defense systems from Russia and it It was unacceptable for a member of the Atlantic Alliance like Turkey to have close military and defense contacts with the Russian regime. Later that year, Erdogan mentioned that the United States had offered Turkey the purchase of F-16 aircraft, which were less advanced than the F-35. However, this deal required approval from the U.S. Congress and faced strong opposition from many lawmakers.

The objection mainly concerned Turkey's position regarding Sweden's NATO membership.

North American F-16 Viper aircraft - <a  data-cke-saved-href=Photo deposit” src=”https://www.atalayar.com/media/atalayar/images/2024/05/27/2024052713573198992.jpg” class=”lazyload”/>
American aircraft F-16 Viper – Photo deposit

Turkey remains very important within the Atlantic Alliance due to the size of its military and is also a key nation due to its geopolitical location between Europe and the Middle East, which gives it a very important role as mediator in various conflicts, as well as its important role in controlling migratory flows, particularly of various nationalities such as Syrians.

On the other hand, Turkey has also moderated its stance in recent years, moving away from its approach toward dangerous partners such as Russia and Iran and lowering the tone of its oppression of the country's internal opposition. This scenario led the Ottoman country to move closer to the West, which suited it well given the need for greater economic and trade agreements. to emerge from the crisis in which the country is plunged, which needs significant income and foreign investment.

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