Erdogan says US senators “positive” on F-16 deal

Erdogan says US senators “positive” on F-16 deal
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Turkish President Erdogan held talks with US senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Coons, on the sidelines of a UN summit in New York

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the two US senators he met in New York on the sidelines of a UN summit, gave “positive” feedback on their potential support for the sale of F-16s to Turkey.

“They're speaking positively," Erdogan told Reuters on Tuesday. 

Last year, Turkey made an official request to buy 40 F-16s and some 80 modernization kits for its existing fleet, after Washington excluded it from the F-35 stealth fighter jet program over its acquisition of Russian S-400 air defense missiles in 2019.

While the President Joe Biden said the US administration supports the sale of the aircraft to Ankara, a possible deal needs approval from the Congress.

The US House of Representatives in July adopted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to restrict the ability of Washington to sell the weaponry to Turkey, unless the Biden administration “certifies that doing so is essential to U.S. national security” and so long as Turkey does not make unauthorised overflights of Greece with the new planes.

During his New York visit, Erdogan met with Republican senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic senator Chris Coons, according to Reuters. 

In response to a question whether he would meet Biden during his New York visit, Erdogan said he will be attending a reception to be hosted by the US President.