Turkish delegation heads to US for F-16 jets talks

A Turkish military delegation headed to the US on Monday for talks on the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye.

"In order to carry out the F-16 procurement and modernization as soon as possible, the technical delegation of the Ministry of National Defense went to the US to hold talks upon the invitation of the US," the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added that so far, three meetings have been held in Türkiye in Dec. 2021 and in Feb. and March this year.

The Turkish government requested F-16s and modernization kits in October 2021. The $6 billion deal would include the sale of 40 F-16 jets and modernization kits for 79 warplanes that the Turkish Air Force has in its inventory.

After a meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in late June with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, US President Joe Biden said at a news conference: "We should sell the F-16 to Turkey. I said that in December and my position hasn't changed since then. It's not in our interests not to sell them. We need congressional approval to get there and I think we'll get there."

However, in July, the US House of Representatives approved legislation creating a new hurdle for Biden's plan to sell F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye.

The amendment put forward by New Jersey lawmaker Frank Pallone passed 244-179 with strong Democratic support and 60 votes of approval coming from Republicans.

It prohibits the sale or transfer of F-16s and modernization kits to Ankara unless Biden certifies the transfer is in American national interests and guarantees to Congress that in the 120 days prior to the transfer, the Turkish government has not "violated the sovereignty of Greece, including through territorial overflights."

Türkiye, for its part, made it clear that Greece-related conditions are not "binding", and hoped the US will not fall for the lawmaker "game."

Source: AA

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