Türkiye expects to hear good news from US on F-16s

Türkiye expects to hear good news from US on F-16s

Türkiye expects to hear good news from US on F-16s

Türkiye is expecting to hear good news from the United States on the sale of F-16 warfighters in December, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, informing that positive messages have been recently coming from Washington.

“Technical works over our request of buying F-16s continues as planned. We told them ‘Let’s proceed like this, solve the matter and close this file’. Time to time, the American side is saying good things [about the sale process] to my Defense Minister Hulusi Akar,” Erdoğan told journalists on his return from Uzbekistan where he attended the leaders’ summit of the Organization of Turkic States over the weekend.

Upon the Turkish government’s request in late 2021, Ankara and Washington are negotiating on the sale of 40 new F-16 warfighters and 79 modernization kits. Türkiye says it needs them to keep its air forces intact to protect its and NATO’s air space on the southern flank of the alliance after its participation to the joint F-35 jetfighter project was ended due to its employment of the Russian S-400 air defense systems.

The U.S. administration expressed its support to the Turkish request but underlines that this sale must be endorsed by the U.S. Congress as well. The mid-term elections of the U.S. Congress provided a majority to the Republicans at the House of Representatives, but Democrats could defend the Senate.

“As a result of this election, we receive some encouraging news, and we continue to follow them closely. I hope next month will be filled with good news, and we will make significant progress on the F16 issue,” Erdoğan said.

In an earlier interview, Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy advisor and spokesman İbrahim Kalın had stressed that Ankara was expecting that the voting for the F-16s would be completed in one or two months.

Türkiye and the U.S. had a high-level defense group meeting in Ankara in the past week. The Turkish government said the meeting was positive.

Greece disturbed by recent steps

On a question of how Greece is felling towards the negotiations between Ankara and Washington, Erdoğan said “Greece is deeply troubled by the recent steps taken. We are also concerned about the West’s position on Greece, particularly that of the United States. Alexandroupolis [Dedeağaç] issue is one of them.”

Türkiye has expressed its concerns over the continued deployment of U.S. military equipment to the Dedeağaç port, a spot very close to the Turkish border. The U.S. says the port is used for transporting NATO military equipment to eastern Europe against a potential Russian aggression.

Erdoğan also reiterated Ankara’s reaction against the use of Greek soils by the terror organizations. “Apart from that, we are concerned about Greece’s attitude in the fight against terrorism. This Lavrion Camp issue, in particular, cannot be tolerated,” he said.

Türkiye has long been slamming Greece for not taking efficient measures against the PKK members who are using the camp. Greece rejects the accusations.