US links Ankara’s desire for “F-16” jets with Sweden’s NATO membership

Sweden’s NATO accession has been on hold for months because Turkey has refused to give its consent. Now the US President has made an offer to Turkey in the case of Sweden.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday it was “time” for Turkey to drop its objections to Sweden joining NATO. But the Biden administration also believes that Turkey should be equipped with upgraded F-16 fighter jets “as soon as possible”.

Erdoğan's victory: Türkiye opts for Eurasia orientation


Erdoğan’s victory: Türkiye opts for Eurasia orientation

So far, Turkey has blocked the Scandinavian country from joining NATO. Ankara refers to opposition figures living in Sweden, whom the Turkish government describes as terrorists. Turkey, for its part, is trying to acquire US-made F-16 fighter jets for $20 billion.

In Washington, Biden said, “He [Erdoğan] still wants to negotiate something regarding the F-16 jets. I told him we want a deal with Sweden, so let’s do that.”

For his part, Blinken emphasized that these were two different topics. However, the top US diplomat also underlined that the completion of these two projects would significantly strengthen “European security”.

“Both of these are, in our opinion, crucial for European security,” Blinken told reporters at a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in the northern Swedish city of Lulea.

“We believe that both, that is Sweden’s accession and the F-16 package more broadly, should be pushed forward as soon as possible.”

Blinken is currently attending a meeting of the US-EU Trade and Technology Council in Sweden. On Wednesday he will travel to Oslo, Norway, for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers before traveling to newly admitted Finland on Friday. Before the meeting of foreign ministers, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Oslo that the goal was to admit Sweden into the alliance before the summit of heads of state and government in July.

more on the subject – Why yes to Finland but no to Sweden? Erdoğan’s calculations for NATO’s northern expansion

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