Turkey will get American F-16s if it’s up to US President Joe Biden. He reached out at the NATO summit, where there is a great satisfaction that Turkey has given up its opposition to the accession of Sweden and Finland.
Turkey has wanted to buy new US warplanes for years but has been unable to do so since relations with the US and other Western countries have deteriorated. The US refuses to supply the advanced F-35 and the same has long been true for additional F-16s, an older type.
When Turkey unexpectedly thwarted the welcome of Sweden and Finland as new NATO members and suddenly withdrew its resistance at the start of the Madrid summit, suspicions arose that Ankara was trying to win a US concession by doing so. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized in recent weeks that NATO allies should not hinder their mutual arms trade. Biden and Erdogan talked for a while at the summit.
The sale of the fighter jets still needs parliamentary approval, Biden said. But he’s counting on Congress to agree.
The US denies that support for an F-16 deal is a reward for Turkey’s turnaround. Washington could be accused of horse-trading. Prime Minister Mark Rutte previously said he did not want to speculate about a connection.