The agreement to buy F-16 fighter jets could be conditional on Ankara accepting NATO’s expansion, Senator Menendez said.
The United States could block Turkey’s request to buy modernization kits for 40 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters and about 80 fighter jets already owned if Ankara does not welcome Finland and Sweden into NATO. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez, suggested such a scenario, according to the Washington Post on Wednesday.
“I hope the administration is noticing this because they are considering F-16s.” The newspaper quoted the Democratic lawmaker as saying. “You should say [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, if you want to consider something, you have to act differently. “
The U.S. senator this week responded to Turkey’s blockade of two Nordic countries’ requests for NATO membership. Approval of all 30 members is required before entering the new country. Ankara, however, has said it will not give its consent because it claims that Sweden and Finland have granted asylum. “Terrorist.”
The objections apparently refer to members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a Kurdish militant group that has long carried out guerrilla operations against the Turkish government. Erdogan has said he wants to extradite 30 people to Finland and Sweden before allowing them to join the US-led military bloc.
Turkey made a request for American warplanes last October, but the possible deal became somewhat controversial for the US government. NATO allies had previously been excluded from the F-35 program in retaliation for the 2017 purchase of a Russian-made anti-aircraft system, which the US has claimed could be used to disclose the privacy of advanced US-made stealth fighters near Moscow.
In April, Reuters reported that the State Department sent a letter to Congress stating that the proposed agreement would work in American interests but clearly stopped supporting it. Last month, the Biden administration asked congressional leaders to approve the sale of the aircraft, the Wall Street Journal reported in early May, citing insiders.
The Turkish leadership indicated that it had realized its request as a form of compensation for the F-35 hijacking, which it received. “Unjust”.
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