Türkİye, Americas

Biden administration presses Congress for approval of F-16 sale to Turkiye: Report

$6B deal includes sale of 40 new F-16V jets, updated kits for aircraft in Turkish Air Forces inventory

Ahmet Gencturk   | 11.05.2022
Biden administration presses Congress for approval of F-16 sale to Turkiye: Report

ANKARA 

The Biden administration has pressed the US Congress for approval of the F-16 sale to Turkiye, Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

By asking the congressional leaders to approve the deal, the administration is setting up a showdown with the lawmakers, said the WSJ.

According to the daily, Turkiye’s mediation efforts to end the Russia-Ukraine war and its supplying Ukraine with the TB-2 combat drones, which proved very effective on the battlefield, significantly contributed to warming the relations between Ankara and Washington.

US and Turkish officials are advocating for the F-16 deal, arguing that it could help repair the American-Turkish defense relationship, frayed after Ankara chose to buy a Russian air-defense system in 2017, the daily reported.

An approximately $6-billion deal would include the sale of 40 newly built F-16V fighter jets and modernization kits for 80 F-16 C/D models that the Turkish Air Forces has in its inventory.

The Turkish government made the request for the F-16s and modernization kits in October 2021, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on April 8 that the talks were “progressing positively.”

Naz Durakoglu, the State Department's top official for legislative affairs, acknowledged last month in a letter to Congressman Frank Pallone the ongoing tensions over additional arms sales to Turkiye but maintained that the sanctions and Turkiye’s removal from the F-35 fighter jet program represent "a significant price paid" for its acquisition of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.

In early May, reports appeared on some US news outlets claiming that several lawmakers favor the deal.

Turkiye paid $1.4 billion for the fighter jets, but Washington took Ankara out of the program in 2019 because Turkiye bought the Russian S-400 defense system after its efforts to acquire US Patriot missiles were rebuffed.

The US claimed the Russian system was a safety risk, but Turkiye maintained that the S-400 would pose no threat to NATO or its armaments because it would not be integrated into the alliance's systems.

Ankara also repeatedly proposed setting up a commission to resolve the matter.

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