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Not missing the opportunity, Erdogan is trying to get fighter jets again

Not missing the opportunity, Erdogan is trying to get fighter jets again

Biden said — local time Monday — that during the conversation, Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s desire to buy F-16 fighter jets from the United States, and Biden told him that Washington wanted Ankara to drop its opposition to Sweden joining NATO.

Biden spoke to reporters about this when he traveled from the White House in Washington to Delaware. As he said, he called Erdogan to congratulate him on his victory in the Turkish presidential elections on Sunday.

Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year, abandoning their decades-old policy of neutrality after Russia attacked Ukraine. Acceptance must be approved by all NATO member states. Finland was able to join the coalition as early as April, but Ankara has many conditions with regard to Sweden, and expects Stockholm to hand over Turkish citizens, mostly Kurds, who have been deemed terrorists.

Turkey wants to buy F-16 fighter jets worth $20 billion from the United States. However, the deal stalled due to objections from the US Congress, as Ankara did not agree to its expansion into NATO. US lawmakers have pointed to Turkey’s human rights record and Ankara’s Syria policy, though the Biden administration has repeatedly said it supports the sale.

The US Congress earlier this year approved a much smaller $259 million package, which included avionics software upgrades for Turkey’s existing fleet of F-16 fighter jets, days after Turkey ratified Finland’s NATO membership.

The Biden administration has repeatedly rejected claims of any connection between the sale and NATO expansion.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said last January that the US side made it clear that approval of applications to join NATO would be positively evaluated by Congress.

One of the most important aspects for Washington is that Sweden joins NATO by mid-July, when the alliance’s leaders hold a summit in Lithuania.

Cover image: Getty Images

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