Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was today quoted as saying that he expected steps from the US Congress on the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara after submitting a bill to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership to Turkiye’s parliament, Reuters reports.”As the president, I’ve done my part, but I have an expectation as well. The US should pass this [F-16 sales to Turkiye] from its Congress, so that we can take these steps simultaneously,” Erdogan told reporters.
Long-neutral Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year to bolster their security after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland’s membership was sealed in April, but Sweden’s bid had been held up by Turkiye and Hungary.
Ankara said Stockholm must first take measures against supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and members of a network Ankara holds responsible for a 2016 coup attempt. Turkiye treats both groups as terrorist organisations.
Sweden approved a new anti-terrorism law in July.
Sweden’s bid has been stranded in Hungary’s parliament since last year, with the ruling nationalists saying there is no threat to Sweden’s security and citing what they call undue Swedish allegations that they have eroded democracy in Hungary. Turkiye had requested in October 2021 to buy $20 billion of Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-16 fighters and nearly 80 modernisation kits for its existing warplanes.
In July, US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Washington will move ahead with the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Turkiye in consultation with Congress, however little progress has been made on the matter.