Biden says he and Erdogan talked about F-16s and Sweden
US President Joe Biden said on Monday that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan expressed his willingness over the phone to buy F-16 fighter jets from the US, and that he then told him Washington was keen to see Ankara drop its objection to Sweden's NATO accession.
The conversation took place in a call when Biden congratulated Erdogan for securing victory in Sunday's presidential election runoff.
"I spoke to Erdogan. I congratulated Erdogan. He still wants to work out something on the F-16s. I told him we wanted to deal with Sweden, so let's get that done. And so we'll be back in touch with one another," Biden told reporters.
"We're going to talk more about it next week," he added.
The statement from the Turkish presidency on the call was brief. It said the two leaders agreed to deepen cooperation on all aspects of their bilateral ties, whose importance they said has grown even more in the face of regional and global challenges.
Turkey has sought to buy $20 billion worth of F-16s from the US but the sale has not moved quickly due to objections from the US Congress, even though the Biden administration has repeatedly said it supports it.
Sweden applied for NATO membership last year, but its bid need approval from all NATO member states and Turkey is one of the NATO members, alongside Hungary, who is yet to ratify the bid.
Turkey ratified Finland's NATO accession in late March but has continued to object to Sweden, saying Stockholm harbors members of militant groups it considers to be "terrorists."
Seeing Sweden in NATO by mid-July when the alliance is due to hold a leaders summit in Lithuania is among the top priorities for Washington.