US senators have threatened not to approve the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey unless Ankara stops blocking Sweden and Finland from joining NATO. Photo/REUTERS
WASHINGTON – As many as 25 United States (US) senators have threatened not to approve the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turki unless Ankara stops blocking Swedish and Finnish applications for membership NATO .
Senators from both major political camps have informed President Joe Biden of their stance.
After the US kicked Turkey out of the F-35 stealth fighter jet program because of Ankara’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system, the two NATO countries negotiated a deal for 40 new F-16 fighter jets.
The sale of the fighter jets requires final approval from the US Congress. But the NATO Senate Observer Group on Thursday told Biden it would take a quid pro quo to make it happen.
Read also: Erdogan: Sweden cannot join NATO if it allows the burning of the Koran
“Congress cannot consider future support for Turkey, including the sale of F-16 fighter jets, until Turkey completes the ratification of the accession protocol,” said the letter from 25 senators from Democrats and Republicans published by Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Friday (3/2/2023) ).
The senators noted that Ankara withheld applications from Stockholm and Helsinki at a key moment in history, namely the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Parliament in Ankara on Wednesday that “there will be a price” to pay if the US reneges on the F-16 deal.
Asked to clarify the statement on Thursday, his spokesperson; Ibrahim Kalin, told CNN International that it refers to the US military industry.
“We have developed our own national capability,” Kalin said.
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