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Biden Pushes U.S. Congress to Approve F-16 Sale to Turkiye

Biden Pushes U.S. Congress to Approve F-16 Sale to Turkiye

According to a Reuters exclusive report prepared by Humeyra Pamuk, Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone, the U.S. Administration pressures the Congress.

Following the Turkish Parliament’s approval of Sweden’s NATO membership, the U.S. administration started to put pressure on Congress. The Biden administration sent a letter on Wednesday, and the administration has not formally notified Congress about the sale.

Turkiye’s refusal to approve the ratification had significantly hindered obtaining congressional approval for the fighter jet deal. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s signature is required as the final step in the Turkish site.

In October 2021, Turkiye requested 40 F-16 Block 70 fighters and 79 modernisation kits for its existing warplanes to upgrade them on Block 70.

The leaders of the United States Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs committees review each major foreign arms sale. They frequently ask questions or express concerns about human rights or diplomatic issues, which can cause delays or halts in such transactions.

Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. While Finland joined last year, Turkiye and Hungary stymied Sweden’s bid.

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On the other hand, Turkiye has decided to modernise some of its F-16 fleet with the Özgür Programme. The decision may also affect Turkiye’s negotiations with the U.K. to acquire 40 Eurofighters, a deal to which Germany applies an embargo.