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Montevideo, June 24th 2024 - 19:41 UTC

 

 

Turkey to receive 40 US F-16s for accepting Sweden’s membership of NATO

Monday, January 29th 2024 - 10:40 UTC
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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had linked his country's approval of Sweden in NATO to fighter jet deliveries from the US, among other conditions Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had linked his country's approval of Sweden in NATO to fighter jet deliveries from the US, among other conditions

Turkey will receive 40 new F-16s and upgrades to 79 of the jets in its existing fleet, the United States State Department said in a press release. The US$ 23 billion operation follows on Turkey's ratification of NATO membership for Sweden.

Bringing an end to a month long political tug-of-war, Turkish lawmakers voted last week to support Sweden's accession to NATO military alliance. The decision was finally sealed with the publication of the so-called accession protocols in the Turkish Official Gazette.

NATO member Hungary still needs to give its approval for Sweden's bid to finally go through.

Likewise to comply with US law, the State Department notified Congress of the arms deal, as well as a separate US$ 8.6 billion sale of 40 F-35 aircraft to Greece — Turkey's neighbor with which it shares a long and often tense history.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had linked his country's approval to fighter jet deliveries from the US, among other conditions. The F-16, produced by US arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin, is one of the most advanced military aircraft in the world. It can be used for both air defense and attacking ground positions. It is also able to fly at very low altitudes and in different weather conditions.

There have been reservations in the US Congress after a number of its members had repeatedly made it clear that they wanted to prevent the deal as long as Ankara was blocking Sweden's accession to NATO.

While the US government does not need lawmakers' approval to go ahead with the sale, Congress does have the power to block it.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat Ben Cardin, said that he would permit the F-16 sale to Turkey but that it was “not a decision I came to lightly.”

“My approval of Turkey's request to purchase F-16 aircrafts has been contingent on Turkish approval of Sweden's NATO membership,” Cardin said.

Cardin pointed to other issues that gave him cause for concern, including Turkey's human rights record, its lacking cooperation in holding Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine and its involvement in tensions in the Middle East.

Another strong candidate to receive F16s, second hand from Denmark, is Argentina, after the US government approved the proposed transfer of 24 Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 15 Mid-Life Update fighters to the Argentine Air Force. The operation needs the confirmation from Buenos Aires, which is considered a fact given President Milei's political alignment with the US and Israel. Besides it is clearly an attempt from Washington to avoid Argentina becoming the first South American country purchasing Chinese newly-made Chengdu JF-17 Thunder Block Three fighters, which allegedly have been successfully experienced by the Pakistan air force.

Categories: Politics, International.

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