Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to buy dozens of US warplanes, sources tell Bloomberg News.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to use an upcoming world summit to pressure US President Joe Biden to allow Ankara to buy dozens of US warplanes, in a bid to overcome Washington’s resistance to the major armaments agreements with his country following its purchase of Russian air defenses.
Turkey sent an official request to the United States on September 30 to purchase 40 new F-16 Block 70 aircraft and nearly 80 kits from Lockheed Martin Corp. to modernize its existing F-16 fighters, said two Turkish officials familiar with the matter. The deal is potentially worth $ 6 billion, they said, but approval will be difficult to come by, given congressional opposition to the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile and Turkey’s intransigent stance.
Turkish officials said Erdogan plans to meet with Biden at the Group of 20 summit in Rome at the end of the month, although no meeting has been announced and it is unclear how successful Biden will be. willing to meet demand for weapons. Turkey’s goal is to secure NATO-compatible planes, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss strategic issues.
A State Department spokesperson, who asked not to be identified, said the department was not commenting on proposed defense sales. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and the National Security Council referred the questions to the State Department.
The Turkish president has so far reported no progress towards resolving the conflict with the United States, which fears the S-400 may be used to gather intelligence on the stealth capabilities of the American fighter jet F -35, which Turkish companies had helped to build and build. Ankara had planned to buy before the break-up on Russian missiles.
Washington demanded that Ankara abandon the S-400 in exchange for the lifting of related US sanctions, but Turkey has shown no inclination. Sanctions have cut Turkey’s main defense procurement agency off US financial institutions, military equipment and technology. New export licenses to transfer US goods or technology to the agency have been banned.
Congress has said it is not going to sign major arms deals with Turkey until we get a resolution on the S-400s, said Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East program at the United Nations. Foreign Policy Research Institute in Washington, in a recent podcast. . This letter or request that the Turks have formulated faces a very delicate task to pass in obtaining approval for the export of F-16s to Turkey.
@ aaronstein1 joins our podcast to discuss #Turkey’s latest request to the United States for the purchase of 40 F-16 jets and nearly 80 retrofit kits for its existing fighter jets, and why could be the end point of S-400 to F-35 from Ankara. to the CAATSA saga: https://t.co/cjuzajs4I0 pic.twitter.com/F1c8GVCD7I
The Greek Current (@GreekCurrent) October 8, 2021
Ankara had argued with Washington for years over access to its Patriot missile system, with Washington waiving Turkish requests for technology transfer.
According to Arda Mevlutoglu, an Ankara-based Turkish aviation expert, Turkey, which has already retired from its F-4 jets, is considering upgrading its F-16 fleet as an interim solution to its fighter capability. because it aspires to develop its own jets. .
If Turkey can get US approval for the sale of the new F-16 Block 70 aircraft and upgrade kits, that would be a huge relief for the Air Force, Mevlutoglu said on Monday. These planes would likely fill their capacity until the 2030s, giving Turkey two critical decades to try and develop its own fighters.
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