Is the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey a quid pro quo in terms of NATO’s northern expansion? The White House clearly rejects this reading.
According to the US government, the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey is not in return for Ankara’s approval of Sweden joining NATO. “It’s not a condition,” said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre yesterday .
US President Joe Biden has made it clear for some time that he supports the sale of F-16 fighter jets. Jean-Pierre said that selling the fighter jets to Turkey would make it easier for the defense alliance to work together. After the re-election of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Biden spoke to him and also expressed “his strong wish” that Turkey would approve Sweden’s application for NATO membership as soon as possible.
Biden gave a different impression
In the past, the US government has repeatedly emphasized that it will support Erdogan’s plan to modernize the fleet of F-16 fighter jets. At the same time, Biden regularly emphasized that this was not a consideration for Erdogan’s support for NATO’s northern expansion.
On Monday evening, however, Biden gave the impression that these two issues belonged together. Biden said: “I spoke to Erdogan and congratulated him. And he still wants to work on a solution for the F-16. I told him that we want an agreement with Sweden. So let’s work this out.”
There have long been discussions about the sale of US fighter jets to Turkey: the NATO country was actually part of a program to develop the US fighter jet F-35 and was supposed to purchase it. However, after the government in Ankara acquired the Russian S-400 missile defense system in 2017, the US government excluded Turkey from the program. There were concerns in Washington that Russia could use the S-400 weapons system’s sensitive radar to obtain data on the F-35’s stealth capabilities.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.