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Erdogan on target: US approves sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey

Erdogan on target: US approves sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey

Erdogan on target
US approves sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey

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US government gives green light to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkey Turkish President Erdogan has made it clear for months that Sweden's approval of NATO membership depends on approval of an arms deal.

After Turkey's final approval of Sweden's NATO membership, the US government began selling F-16 fighter jets to Ankara. The responsible authority announced that Congress in Washington had been notified of the planned arms deal. The U.S. Congress does not have to ratify the deal, but can block it if in doubt. However, this is considered unlikely after Turkey finally agreed to Sweden joining NATO.

After a year and a half of political wrangling, a majority of parliamentarians in Ankara voted for Sweden to join NATO on Tuesday evening. Two days later, the decision was finalized with the publication of the so-called Accession Protocol in the Turkish Government Gazette. NATO country Hungary has yet to officially recognize Sweden.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had linked his country's approval to the delivery of fighter jets from the US. However, there were major reservations in Congress, including the human rights situation in Turkey and tensions with NATO partner Greece. Many parliamentarians have made it clear several times that they want to block the deal until Turkey blocks Sweden's entry into NATO.

40 new jets and modernization services

The U.S. government has long emphasized its willingness to support Erdogan's naval modernization — but has made clear at the same time that this is not a consideration for the country's approval of NATO's northern expansion. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met only with his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan and then Erdogan in Istanbul in early January.

The F-16 fighter jet is one of the most powerful military jets in the world and is used by over two dozen countries. The US company Lockheed Martin's machines can be used against air defense and ground targets, i.e. to repel enemy units. The F-16 is capable of flying at very low altitudes and in all weather conditions.

The sale also includes 40 new F-16 fighter jets and modernization packages for the 79 F-16 jets already in Turkey's possession, US President Joe Biden's administration told Congress. The total value of the package is about 23 billion US dollars (about 21 billion euros).

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