Defense minister: Technical talks on F-16 supply with US positive
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has described ongoing technical talks for Türkiye’s request of purchasing 40 new F-16s from the United States as positive, following the fourth round of talks between the two countries’ military experts.
“The fourth meeting over [Türkiye’s] procurement of F-16s from the U.S. was held in the U.S. on Aug. 15. Our military delegation went to the U.S. Our works continue with the assumption that these warplanes will be supplied. Technical issues are being discussed and in a positive manner,” Akar told a group of journalists following the weekly cabinet meeting late on Aug. 22.
Ankara officially requested to buy 40 new F-16s and 79 modernization kits for its existing fleets after it was expelled from the joint F-35 fifth-generation jet fighter program due to its deployment of S-400 air defense systems from Russia.
The sale should also be approved by the U.S. Congress, which has recently voted to make the sale of these planes to Türkiye conditional.
“As can be seen by everybody, the Republic of Türkiye has become a player in the international environment. Let’s see that. In addition, its area of influence has expanded to Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East,” Akar said, adding its area of interest is the whole world.
In the meantime, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in a televised interview on Aug. 23, affirmed Akar’s description of the talks as positive.
“The U.S. administration is favorable to this sale, and talks between the militaries are proceeding positively,” Çavuşoğlu said while recalling that a group of pro-Greek U.S. congressmen is trying to complicate the sale. Washington is well aware that Türkiye will not accept any conditionality while purchasing the F-16s, Çavuşoğlu said. “Why would we buy a product that we won’t be able to use? Therefore, our expectation from the U.S. administration is to reflect its positive stance to the Congress as well.”
A resolution voted by the U.S. Congress obliges the Biden administration to prove that this sale to Türkiye is in line with the American interests and that Türkiye won’t use them to violate the Greek airspace.