Turkish, US defense chiefs discuss bilateral ties over phone

In a Tuesday phone call, Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed the shared NATO alliance as well as bilateral and regional issues.

Akar and Austin exchanged views on defense and security issues, especially developments in Ukraine, the fight against terrorism, and talks on the US selling Türkiye F-16 fighter jets and upgrade kits, said a Turkish National Defense Ministry statement.

The ministry gave no further details.

Previously, Akar said the fourth round of technical talks between Ankara and Washington on the sale of F-16 fighter jets was going "positively."

A Turkish military delegation headed to the US on Aug. 15 for talks on the sale to Türkiye.

Ankara requested the F-16s and modernization kits last October. 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.

However, in July, the US House of Representatives approved legislation creating a new hurdle for the sale.

It prohibits the sale unless President Joe Biden certifies the transfer is in US 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 voiced hope that the US would not fall for such “games.”

Source: AA

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