Turkey has finally approved Sweden’s accession to NATO. Now the US government is taking a decisive step to seal an arms deal that Erdogan desperately wanted.
After Turkey’s final approval of Sweden’s NATO membership, the US government initiated the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara. The responsible authority announced that Congress in Washington had been informed about the planned arms deal. The US Parliament does not have to approve the deal, but can block it if in doubt. However, this is considered unlikely after Turkey finally gave its OK for Sweden to join NATO.
After a year and a half of political tug-of-war, the majority of parliamentarians in Ankara voted for Sweden to join NATO on Tuesday evening. The decision became final on Thursday evening with the publication of the so-called accession protocols in the Turkish government gazette. The NATO country Hungary still has to officially agree to the admission of Sweden.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had tied his country’s approval to, among other things, fighter jet deliveries from the USA. So far, however, there have been reservations in Congress. A number of parliamentarians had repeatedly made it clear that they wanted to prevent the deal as long as Turkey blocked Sweden’s accession to NATO. Now nothing should stand in the way of the sale.
The US government had long emphasized its willingness to support the modernization of the fleet that Erdogan was aiming for – and at the same time made it clear that this was not a consideration for the country’s consent to NATO’s northern expansion. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken only met his Turkish colleague Hakan Fidan and then Erdogan in Istanbul at the beginning of January.
F-16 is one of the most powerful military jets in the world
The F-16 fighter jet is one of the most powerful military jets in the world and is used in more than two dozen countries. The machines from the US company Lockheed Martin can be used both in air defense and against targets on the ground, i.e. to push back enemy units. The F-16 is capable of flying at extremely low altitudes and in all weather conditions.
The US administration of US President Joe Biden told Congress that the sale included, among other things, 40 new F-16 fighter jets as well as modernization packages for 79 F-16 jets already in Turkey’s possession. The total value of the package is around 23 billion US dollars (around 21 billion euros).
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.