On Monday, a Turkish military group left for the United States to discuss the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye.
“In order to expedite F-16 procurement and modernization, a technical delegation from the Ministry of National Defense traveled to the United States at the invitation of the United States to hold discussions,” the Turkish Defense Ministry stated in a statement.
The government stated that three sessions have thus far been held in Türkiye in December 2021, and in February and March of this year, respectively.
In October 2021, the Turkish government requested F-16s and modification kits. The $6 billion contract would include the delivery of 40 F-16 aircraft and modification kits for 79 of the Turkish Air Force’s existing warplanes.
After meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the margins of the NATO summit in late June, US President Joe Biden stated at a news conference: “The F-16 should be sold to Turkey. This was my position in December, and it has not altered since then. We have no interest in not selling them. We require congressional approval to get there, and I believe we will succeed.”
In July, however, the US House of Representatives passed legislation that creates a fresh obstacle for President Biden’s plan to sell F-16 fighter fighters to Türkiye. The amendment proposed by New Jersey representative Frank Pallone succeeded with significant support from Democrats and 60 votes from Republicans, 244-179.
It prohibits the sale or transfer of F-16s and modernization kits to Ankara unless President Biden certifies that the transfer is in the national interests of the United States and guarantees Congress that in the 120 days preceding the transfer, the Turkish government has not “violated the sovereignty of Greece, including through territorial overflights.”
Türkiye, for its part, made clear that the requirements pertaining to Greece are not “binding” and hoped that the United States would not fall for the legislators’ “game.”