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Turkish delegation due to visit US for F-16 jets talks

August 14, 2022 at 2:08 pm

An aerial view of Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter aircrafts in Balikesir, Turkiye on May 22, 2022. [Ali Atmaca – Anadolu Agency]

A Turkish military delegation will visit the US on Monday for talks on the sale of F-16 jets to Turkiye, Anadolu Agency reports.

Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar previously announced that a team will hold the third round of bilateral technical talks following up on US President Joe Biden’s pledge to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Turkiye.

After a meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in late June with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Biden said at a news conference: “We should sell the F-16 to Turkey. I said that in December and my position hasn’t changed since then. It’s not in our interests not to sell them. We need congressional approval to get there and I think we’ll get there.”

The Turkish government requested F-16s and modernization kits in October 2021. The $6 billion deal would include the sale of 40 F-16 jets, and modernization kits for 79 warplanes that the Turkish Air Force has in its inventory.

However, in July, the US House of Representatives approved a legislation that would create a new hurdle for Biden’s plan to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkiye.

READ: Greece is ‘up to something’ and acting ‘abnormal’, Turkiye Defence Minister says

The amendment put forward by New Jersey lawmaker Frank Pallone passed 244-179 with strong Democratic support and 60 votes of approval coming from Republicans.

It prohibits the sale or transfer of F-16s and modernization kits to Ankara unless Biden certifies the transfer is in American national interests, and guarantees to Congress that in the 120 days prior to the transfer, the Turkish government has not “violated the sovereignty of Greece, including through territorial overflights.”

Türkiye, for its part, made it clear that Greece-related conditions are not “binding”, and hoped the US will not fall for lawmaker “game”.