Türkiye, US to hold talks on F-16s sale mid-August

Türkiye, US to hold talks on F-16s sale mid-August

Türkiye, US to hold talks on F-16s sale mid-August

Türkiye and the United States will hold fresh talks about the purchase of the F-16 warplanes, the Turkish defense minister has said on the development following the U.S. Congress adopted a bill to make the sale much more difficult.

“A technical meeting will take place on Aug. 15,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in televised remarks on Aug. 1, referring to ongoing talks between the two allies over the sale of the F-16s.

Ankara and Washington had three meetings on the F-16s since the beginning of 2022, Akar recalled, explaining that Türkiye is seeking to upgrade its air fleet in accordance with its security needs as well as its responsibilities at NATO.

Türkiye requested to buy 40 new F-16s and 79 modernization kits for its existing fleet after its participation in the F-35 project was ended due to Türkiye’s deployment of the S-400 air defense system from Russia.

Washington has expressed its positive stance towards the sale, Akar said, citing his talks with his counterpart, Lloyd Austin, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s latest meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in late June in Madrid.

Although Washington seems positive, the U.S. Congress recently adopted a bill obliging the White House to prove that the procurement will be in the U.S. interest and these warplanes won’t be used to violate Greek airspace.

Akar recalled that Türkiye had deployed a delegation composed of lawmakers who visited Washington and held talks with the members of the U.S. Congress and other officials, saying, “They have returned with very good sentiments. We will continue to be in talks with our counterparts.”

He stressed that the U.S Congress’ move has to be voted at the Senate and then has to be approved by Biden, noting, “We are continuing our talks to this end.” The meeting in the U.S. on Aug. 15 will focus on the technical aspects of the sale, he added.

“We wish that the process will come out to be good. If not, there are an increasing number of options. Many solutions can be produced accordingly,” he stated.

Akar also slammed the Central Command of the U.S. Army (CENTCOM) for using a message of condolences for the YPG terrorists neutralized by the Turkish army in the past weeks. “[It’s] an eclipse of reason, no explanation! Our American allies will regret it when they remember what they did in the future,” he said.

TURKEY, US, F16, Diplomacy,