Turkish, American defense ministers discuss F-16 sale, Ukraine war
Turkish and American defense ministers, Hulusi Akar and Lloyd Austin, discussed the bilateral defense and security matters as well as the former’s request of purchasing F-16s and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
According to a statement from the Turkish defense ministry late July 25, the two defense ministers raised bilateral issues and regional developments on the phone. The two ministers discussed the recent deal on creating a food corridor for the export of Ukraine’s and Russia’s food products to the world markets, read the statement.
They have also reviewed the developments concerning the anti-terror fight, the relationship between Türkiye and Greece as well as Türkiye’s request for supplying 40 new F-16 jet fighters from the U.S.
Ankara and Washington have been in talks over the F-16 sale since late 2021. Although the Biden administration endorses the procurement, it still needs a congressional approval. A recent vote in the House of Representatives has obliged Washington to prove that this sale is in the interest of the U.S. and that these warplanes won’t be used to violate Greek airspace.
In the meantime, acting Press Secretary Todd Breasseale also released a readout about the conversation. It said the ministers discussed “the importance of maintaining stability in Syria” and the need for continued efforts to reduce tensions in the Aegean through constructive dialogue.
“The leaders also discussed their continued support for Ukraine and Secretary Austin thanked Minister Akar for Türkiye’s humanitarian efforts related to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” it noted.
Defense Minister Akar also had a talk with Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Alexander Kubrakov on the phone late July 25. Kubrakov and Akar signed the grain deal on July 22 along with the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Akar welcomed the statement from Ukraine that the first shipment of grain can start this week, read a statement from the ministry. He also repeated Türkiye’s commitment to contributing in the best way for the implementation process and establishing the Joint Coordination Center as soon as possible.